Obama congratulates Libya on liberation

President Barack Obama speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct 21, 2011, address the status of U.S. forces in Iraq.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
President Barack Obama.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

President Obama congratulated the people of Libya Sunday for the nation's "historic declaration of liberation," and called on its temporary governing body to "turn its attention to the political transition ahead."

In a statement, Mr. Obama heralded a "new era of promise" for the nation after the fall of dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who was killed in an ambush in Sirte last week.

"On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Libya on today's historic declaration of liberation," he said. "After four decades of brutal dictatorship and eight months of deadly conflict, the Libyan people can now celebrate their freedom and the beginning of a new era of promise."

The nation's interim leaders formally declared the Libyan liberation Sunday at a ceremony in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi.

At the celebration, which was attended by thousands of Libyans, interim leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil celebrated the victory and pledged to uphold Sharia law in the nation.

"This revolution was looked after by God to achieve victory," he said.

Libya declares itself liberated from Qaddafi

Mr. Obama, in his statement, urged Libya's Transitional National Council (TNC) to be mindful of human rights in rebuilding Libya's governing body.

"We look forward to working with the TNC and an empowered transitional government as they prepare for the country's first free and fair elections," Mr. Obama said in the statement. "The Libyan authorities should also continue living up to their commitments to respect human rights, begin a national reconciliation process, secure weapons and dangerous materials, and bring together armed groups under a unified civilian leadership."

He pledged to work with its international partners to "help advance a stable, democratic transition" in Libya.