Obama Says NATO's Strength Key to Success in Libya Mission

President Barack Obama told Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg that the strength of the NATO alliance made the mission against Muammar Qaddafi's regime in Libya successful.

The U.S. president said he appreciates NATO-member Norway "helping to give Libya an opportunity to become a democracy."

Asked whether Qaddafi's death today vindicated U.S. strategy, Obama said, "We did exactly what we said we were going to do." Qaddafi died after being captured in his hometown of Sirte, ending a search for the deposed leader that began when he fled Tripoli in August.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization "accomplished our aim in Libya," Stoltenberg said.

Obama and Stoltenberg met in the Oval Office today with an agenda that also included the debt crisis in Europe, the war in Afghanistan, the battle against terrorism and the stalled Middle East peace process.

The two leaders also discussed the "heartbreaking" mass shooting in Stoltenberg's country, Obama said. The tragedy underscores the need for cooperation in combating extremism, he said.

Norway was rocked by a July 22 shooting rampage by Anders Behring Breivik at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoeya Island that killed 69, including some as young as 14, and a car bomb in Oslo's government district that took eight lives.

[Source: By Kate Andersen Brower, Bloomberg, 20Oct11]

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