Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today stressed that Libya’s transition to democracy must proceed in spirit of reconciliation and justice.
At the State Chief of Mission Residence in Paris, Ms. Clinton said Libyans stood up to demand fundamental rights and freedom six months ago. And when Qadhafi met their peaceful protest with violence, the Libyan people refused to back down.
“While their struggle is not over, the Libyan people are taking back their country. Libya’s transformation is the – largely the result of their own courage and their resilience in the face of very difficult days. The sacrifice that the Libyan people have been willing to make in order to obtain freedom and dignity has been extraordinary.” -Ms. Clinton
She pointed out that the United States and its international partners are also proud of their own contributions. She noted that when Qadhafi threatened Benghazi, they assembled an unprecedented coalition that included NATO and Arab countries, and acted quickly to prevent a massacre. She added they sought and won local, regional, and international support, including the backing of the UN and the Arab League.
“And after deploying our unique military capabilities at the outset, the United States played a key role in a genuinely shared effort as our allies stepped up. As time went on, our coalition grew even stronger.” -Ms. Clinton
She highlighted that the international community must maintain the same sense of resolve and shared responsibility. She noted that what happens in the coming days will be critical. She urged international community to help the Libyan people get it right.
“We need to continue NATO’s military mission as long as civilians remain under threat of attack. For the sake of the Libyan people, we have called on Qadhafi and those around him to recognize that their time is over and lay down their arms. And as the new Libyan authorities consolidate power, we will support their efforts to demobilize and integrate fighters into a single security force.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton also urged all nations to welcome Libya back into the community of nations. She said nearly 70 countries so far have recognized the TNC, including 18 African nations, the Arab League, and now Russia. She pointed out that it is time for others to follow suit.
She also announced that by the end of today, the United States expects to have delivered $700 million to help the TNC pay for fuel and civilian operating costs and salaries, with another 800 million on the way.
Ms. Clinton underscored that the international community, led by the United Nations, needs to help the Libyan people and their leaders pave a path to peaceful, inclusive democracy – one that banishes violence as a political tool and promotes tolerance and pluralism.