Less than a year after a remarkable revolution led to Libya’s liberation, the United States of America today congratulated Libya for making progress in building democratic and stable state.
In his remarks after meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Elkeib in Tripoli, Deputy Secretary William J. Burns says one week after historic and successful elections, this is a moment in which Libyans can take great pride.
“It is a moment filled with daunting challenges, which no one should underestimate. But it is also a moment filled with promise.” – Mr. Burns
He states that the United States will be a reliable long-term partner for Libya in the transition period which lies ahead.
He stresses that the Libyan people have already demonstrated uncommon courage in their pursuit of the dignity, freedom and opportunity they so richly deserve.
And after suffering for decades under the region’s longest-ruling dictator, the people of Libya are now giving new hope to the entire region, Mr. Burns added.
Mr Burns highlighted that Libya has already come a long way in a short time.
Libya’s leadership has ably guided the country through a complicated period in the country’s history, he stressed.
“We congratulate the Libyan people on the July 7 elections, a critical milestone, and the first step towards building lasting democratic institutions.” – Mr. Burns
However, Mr. Burns pointed out that much work lies ahead.
The next important step will be ensuring a smooth transition to the elected Congress, and the next cabinet, he noted.
He says the US government has worked closely with the UN Support Mission to Libya and other international partners to provide support for the priorities and needs of a changing Libya.
“We provided technical assistance to the High National Elections Commission and to Libyan non-governmental organizations that helped educate the public about the election process.” – Mr. Burns
The US government will continue to support efforts to strengthen Libya’s increasingly vibrant civil society and media, he stressed.
The US recognizes that enhancing educational opportunities, including studying overseas and English-language training, are a top priority.
He reports that they have launched the U.S.-Libya Higher Education Task Force earlier this spring, which will enable the two governments to jointly identify and support priorities for cooperation in higher education.
And recognizing the important contribution so many brave men and women made to Libya’s revolution, the United States will also continue to support improved care for Libya’s war-wounded, including by enhancing rehabilitation services, Mr. Burns underlined.
“Finally, it is deeply in the interest of both Libya and the United States to cooperate on addressing threats to Libya’s security.” -Mr. Burns
He says a stable, prosperous future for Libya will rest on achieving progress on security, including Libya’s ability to secure its borders, control weapons, and prevent any groups from undermining the progress made thus far.
A long road lies ahead, but the Libyan people should be very proud of what they have accomplished, Mr. Burns said.
“Libyans can count on continued American support in the months and years ahead.” -Mr. Burns
He says both countries were proud partners during the revolution.
And they will be proud and committed partners as Libyans continue the hard work of building the secure, democratic, and prosperous state for which they have fought so long, and sacrificed so much, Mr. Burns added.
Last week, some 2.7 million Libyan people have registered to vote for members of the new National Congress.
Reports say the election was the country’s first free poll in almost half a century.
The polls were originally slated to be held in late June. The elections were the first free elections in decades in Libya.
Reports says more than 3,000 candidates ran for office, including more than 600 women.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon congratulated the Libyan people for their determination to vote and to start anew after the revolution.
Mr. Ban hailed Libya’s High national Election Commission and the thousands of electoral staff “who ensured well-conducted and transparent polling.
In addition, Mr. Ban also looks forward to the successful completion of the Libyan-managed electoral process.
The UN chief also expressed his appreciation to the candidates and political groups that contested the election in a peaceful and democratic spirit.
In February this year, the citizens of Libya marked its first anniversary of the country’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi with spontaneous celebrations nationwide.
Citizens in all ages went out on the streets of Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata and other towns to begin the celebrations by setting off firecrackers and chanting slogans.
The celebrations were led by residents of Benghazi, the city which first rose against Gaddafi and his 42-year-old regime.
The United States of America also joined with Libyans around the world in marking the one-year anniversary of their historic revolution.
The United States has pledged support as Libya tackles these challenges together with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, and other international partners who stand ready to help.
Libya has been engulfed by fighting since a pro-democracy movement opposed to the regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi emerged in February 2011 following similar protests in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries across North Africa and the Middle East.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the fighting and hundreds of thousands of others have been internally displaced or forced to flee to neighbouring countries.
The United States has played a central role in marshalling the international response to the crisis in Libya. Together with its partners, they have saved thousands of lives and helped confront a ruthless, erratic dictator who was poised to slaughter his own people in order to hold on to power.
Muammar Gaddafi was killed at his home town of Sirte on October 2011 when he was overrun by fighters seeking to complete the eight-month uprising.
Gaddafi’s demise marks the end of a 42 year rule of a dysfunctional brutal regime that was ruled by fear, torture and executions. Its mismanagement of the economy brought ruin to Libya and impoverished the Libyan people despite the huge oil and gas wealth.