Washington: The Gaddafi regime is coming to an end and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people, US President Barack Obama said, as forces opposed to the embattled Libyan leader claimed to be in control of most of the capital Tripoli.

"The Gaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people," Obama said as he came out of his summer vacation to issue a statement on the extraordinary developments in Libya.

"In just six months, the 42-year reign of Muammar Gaddafi has unraveled," Obama said soon after he held a call with the National Security Council officials and a telephonic conversation with British Prime Minister David Cameroon.

The President said the situation in Libya has reached a tipping point, as the opposition increased its coordination from east to west, took town after town, and the people of Tripoli rose up to claim their freedom.

"For over four decades, the Libyan people had lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights. Now, the celebrations that we've seen in the streets of Libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator," Obama said.

However, he emphasised that this is not over yet.

"As the regime collapses, there's still fierce fighting in some areas, and we have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting," the President said.

Obama said although it's clear that Gaddafi's rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.

"As we move forward from this pivotal phase, the opposition should continue to take important steps to bring about a transition that is peaceful, inclusive and just," the President said.

UN chief appeals for smooth transition in Libya

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed for smooth transition in Libya and asked the forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi to cease violence immediately as he planned to discuss the issue with India and other members of the powerful Security Council.

"It is crucial now for the conflict (in Libya) to end with no further loss of life and retribution. I call on Colonel Gaddafi's forces to cease violence immediately, and make way for a smooth transition," Ban told reporters here.

He said he will meet Security Council President, India's envoy to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri as well as the permanent members of the powerful world body to assess the situation in the strife-torn country.

Ban said he plans to hold an "urgent meeting" later this week among heads of regional and international organisations, including the African Union, League of Arab States, Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the European Union to discuss the situation in Libya.

Moon said he does not have information on the whereabouts of Gaddafi, adding that he "sincerely" hoped that "we will be able to find him" as soon as possible.

He said he had tried to speak with Gaddafi recently but to no avail.

The "dramatic scenes" in Tripoli are a testament to the courage and determination of the Libyan people to seek a free and democratic future, the UN chief said adding that Libyans should focus on "national unity, reconciliation and inclusiveness."

In June, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, one of his sons, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, and the head of the  Libya’s intelligence forces, Abdullah Al Sanousi, for crimes against humanity committed during the conflict.

(Agencies)