Obama Calls Turkish and Qatari Leaders on Libya

By Kristina

Mar 22, 2011 11:01am

ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Jake Tapper report:

As President Obama continues his five-day South America trip, so do his calls with international leaders on the conflict in Libya.

This morning while on Air Force One traveling from Chile to San Salvador President Obama called the Emir of Qatar to thank him for contributions to the international coalition in Libya.

“The president underscored that Qatar’s contribution reflects a real leadership role in the region in support of the Libyan people and again the two leaders underscored the importance of the resolution and the importance of the protection of the Libyan people,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said in a statement to press aboard Air Force One flying from Chile to San Salvador.

Qatar had already indicated that they were prepared to provide military air craft associated with the enforcement of the resolution. The Associated Press reported this morning that two Qatar Air Force fighter jets and a cargo aircraft headed to Crete this morning. 

President Obama also called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey yesterday evening “to continue their consultations on the situation in Libya,” the White House said, emphasizing appreciation for Turkey for facilitating the release and safe passage to Tunisia of four New York Times journalists who had been detained in Libyan custody.  

The White House said that both leaders reaffirmed their full support for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973, in order to protect the Libyan people.

“The leaders agreed that this will require a broad-based international effort, including Arab participation, to implement and enforce the UN resolutions, based on national contributions and enabled by NATO’s unique multinational command and control capabilities,” Rhodes said, “They underscored their shared commitment to the goal of helping provide the Libyan people an opportunity to transform their country, by installing a democratic system that is responsive and respects the will of it’s people.”

Turkey, the only Muslim nation in NATO, has expressed concern about the military action against the Libyan government.  The Turkish Foreign Minister said the objective should be "not to launch a large-scale war.” But Turkey is helping the US, UK, Italy and Australia with diplomatic functions within Libya.

Edrogan today old deputies of his party that Turkey will not be a part of the military operation and “would never ever be a party to pointing weapons at the Libyan people."

 The White House wants to shift out of the lead role for military intervention in Libya. When asked today on Air Force One about NATO’s role in the operation, Rhodes said that NATO will have an important role to play in terms of “unique capabilities in command and control.”

 “Clearly we have a coalition that is going to include countries other than NATO, NATO allies, and that not every single NATO ally is going to be participating in the enforcement of the no fly zone. So I think what we are working through is how to leverage the capabilities within NATO as part of a command structure that is internationalized.”

-Sunlen Miller and Jake Tapper

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