President Barack Obama is coming under increasing pressure to cut short his vacation in Martha's Vineyard and return toe the White House to help deal with the events unfolding in Libya.Following a day of dramatic developments Mr Obama issued a statement from his exclusive holiday destination declaring that Libya had reached a 'tipping point' and that control of the capital was 'slipping from the grasp of a tyrant.'Mr Obama called on Colonel Gaddafi to accept reality and relinquish power.
'The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Muammar Gaddafi and his regime need to recognise that their rule has come to an end.
'Gaddafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all.'The president has been monitoring the situation over the weekend and is due to hold a series of emergency meeting this morning.
On holiday: President Obama waves to the crowd in front of Nancy's restaurant while on vacation in Martha's VineyardFamous face: The president orders food from Nancy's restaurant hours before delivering a statement on the Libyan situationJoy: Tens of thousands of Libyans celebrate the arrest of Colonel Gaddafi's son as news spread across the country that the dictator had fledMr Obama issued the statement after conducting a conference call with members of his national security team, who had kept him updated throughout the day.
The president had told reporters earlier that he would not make a statement 'until we have full confirmation of what has happened.'
Libyan rebels who raced into Tripoli on Sunday met little resistance as Gaddafi's defenders melted away and his 42-year rule rapidly crumbled.
Euphoric fighters celebrated with residents in Green Square, the symbolic heart of the fading regime.
Gaddafi's whereabouts were unknown, though state TV broadcast his bitter pleas for Libyans to defend his regime.A vacationing President Barack Obama has been kept up to date by aides on developments in Libya and U.S. officials were in touch with their contacts there to check on the progress of rebel troops advancing on Libya's capital, Tripoli.A senior administration official said the president was briefed throughout Saturday and Sunday at Martha's Vineyard and would continue to get regular updates, through the night if necessary.
A second senior official said the administration was in close contact with the Libyan opposition and U.S. allies and partners, and believes that Gaddafi's days in power are numbered.'Ran away like a coward': Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi is reported to have fled as Tripoli fell to the Libyan rebelsLibyans took to the streets last night in their thousands to celebrate the toppling of the dictatorHistory: The euphoric fighters celebrated with residents of the capital in the city's main square, the symbolic heart of the regimePing: Barack Obama tees off while playing golf at the Vineyard Golf Club in EdgartownThe administration will also continue to stress that this is a matter for the Libyan people to decide.
The officials, both with the White House and with other agencies, spoke anonymously to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters.Reporters in Tripoli heard gunfire and explosions after rebel troops seized control of Zawiya, a major coastal city not far from the capital.
Rebel leaders called it the start of an attack on Gaddafi's main stronghold.Mr Obama spent most of Saturday at his vacation compound on the island off Cape Cod.He dropped in briefly at a reception hosted by his friend and former law school professor, Charles Ogletree, but was back at the complex in just over an hour.
Mr Obama teed off his vacation with a round of golf at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown.
Aides said the President played the links course with long-time Chicago friend Eric Whitaker and two White House staffers.Book smarts: U.S. President Barack Obama dresses casually as he walks out of the Bunch of Grapes book store with his daughters Malia (right) and Sasha (centre) on his first day in Martha's VineyardEarlier in the day Mr Obama visited the Bunch of Grapes book shop in Vineyard Haven with daughters Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10 and picked up five or six books.'They've got to buy some books,' he said, adding that one of his daughters had an assignment.After going upstairs and looking around the store, Mr Obama was seen with copies of 'Brave New World' and 'The Bayou Trilogy'.
Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's 1932 dystopian novel about a state which controls the behaviour of its people by using technology to keep them superficially happy. Republicans may well read into the purchase.
The Bayou Trilogy is Daniel Woodrell's work centred around a detective fighting crime in a Louisiana swampland.On Saturday Mr Obama said members of Congress should put country before politics, set aside their differences and act together to put people back to work in his pre-recorded weekly radio and Internet address.He said that lawmakers in Washington could learn something from the people in small towns in Illinois and Iowa. And if they did, Obama said there are some things they could get done right away, like passing a road construction bill or extending a reduction in the payroll tax. Nice way to start a holiday! President Barack Obama receives a national security briefing from John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism, at his retreatTroop of cars: Mr Obama's motorcade leaves the Blue Heron Farm on Martha's Vineyard en-route to the Bunch of Grapes book shop
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