President Obama spent the beginning of his trip to the United Nations General Assembly Monday striving to encourage other world leaders to support Libya’s fledgling democracy with the United States taking a limited but key role.
With Libya and the Arab Spring, Obama’s forged a foreign policy this year based on the U.S. playing a key role in corralling international support before taking military action or taking on state-building responsibilities.
Credit for Libya’s liberation belongs to the Libyan people, Obama asserted, but Libya is also “a lesson in what the international community can achieve when we stand together as one,” he will tell world leaders, according to prepared remarks.
“We cannot and should not intervene every time there’s an injustice in the world,” he said. “Yet it’s also true that at times the world could have and should have summoned the will to prevent the killing of innocents on a horrific scale. And we are forever haunted by the atrocities we did not prevent, the lives we did not save. But this time was different. This time, we found the courage and the collective will to act.”
Now that the fighting is over in Libya, the UN is sending a contingent to Tripoli to help establish the new democracy and serve as a conduit for financial aid, a stark contrast from the last decade of U.S. action overseas.
At the UN General Assembly today, Obama’s schedule will underscore what he believes is a strategic success in Libya, empowering the people of the country to liberate themselves with assistance from the U.S. and a group of international allies.
In the morning, Obama met with the Libyan Transitional National Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil, and later with the Libya Contact Group.
In the afternoon, Obama plans to meet with President Hamid Karzai of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and later is scheduled to attend a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.