President Obama said Saturday Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi lost his legitimacy after resorting to mass violence against his own people "and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now."
The White House said Obama talked about the need for Gadhafi to surrender power in a private telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It was one of his strongest statements yet on the deteriorating situation in Libya.
"The president and the chancellor shared deep concerns about the Libyan government's continued violations of human rights and brutalization of its people," an administration release said.
Obama and Merkel discussed "appropriate and effective ways for the international community to respond" and agreed that Gadhafi's government must be held accountable for the violence.
In Libya, the Associated Press
said British military planes had rescued oil field workers and others in desert locations and flown them safely to the island of Malta. Few planes have been able to enter Libyan air space, but the C-130 Hercules aircraft managed to pick up more than 150 civilians, including British citizens, south of the port of Benghazi, British Defense Minister Liam Fox told the AP.