President Obama warned Colonel Gaddafi’s loyalists that they will be “held accountable” for propping up the beleaguered dictator against the armed rebel force seeking to end his 41-year rule.

“I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Colonel Gaddafi. It is their choice as to how to operate moving forward. They will be held accountable for whatever violence will continue to take place there,” he said.

He also pointed out that Nato was meeting in Brussels to discuss possible responses to the violence in Libya which continues to rage amid the rebel uprising.

“In the meantime, we have got Nato, as we speak, consulting in Brussels around a wide range of potential options including potential military options in response to the violence that is continuing to take place in Libya.”

The US Commander in Chief spoke in the Oval Office after a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The warning follows repeated attempts by the US government to isolate Gaddafi by getting his closest aides to turn against him.

Immediately after Gaddafi’s crackdown on opponents to his rule, the United States appealed directly to Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa – a former intelligence chief with strong ties to the US – to abandon Gaddafi, the Washington Post reports. But Kusa remains loyal to Gaddafi.

Obama spoke as Gaddafi deployed air and ground forces to win back territory held by the rebels including towns in and around the capital, Tripoli.

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