WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama said Saturday that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi must leave the country now.
Obama made the comments to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a private telephone conversation Saturday as they discussed the violence in Libya. The White House said Obama told Merkel that when a leader's only means of holding power is to use violence against his people, then he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what's right for his country by "leaving now."
The comments mark the first time that Obama has called on Gaddafi to step down.
Gaddafi has launched a violent crackdown against protesters demanding his ouster. He has vowed a bloody fight to the end.