End of Gaddafi regime is near: EU

BRUSSELS — The end of the Gaddafi regime in Libya is near and he must relinquish all power to avoid further bloodshed, a spokesman for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Monday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Mon 22 Aug 2011, 6:36 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:32 PM

“We seem to be witnessing the end of the Gaddafi regime,” spokesman Michael Mann said. “Gaddafi has to relinquish power now and avoid further bloodshed.”

The spokesman for the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs also urged the rebel forces to “fully respect humanitarian and human rights law and protect citizens,” as they gain control of the country.

“It is critical that the authorities work to honour the aspirations expressed by the revolution for the establishment of a democratic, just and prosperous Libya,” he added.

European countries such as France and Italy had spearheaded the recent return of oil-rich Libya — long considered a rogue state by the West over terror links — into the international fold.

But the European Union joined other Western powers Monday in hailing the imminent end of Gaddafi’s 42-year-old rule.

The EU stands ready to support the country “in concrete and practical ways in the coming weeks, months and years,” Ashton’s spokesman said.

“Today Libya is entering a new era,” said Mann, as the Western-backed rebel National Transitional Council vowed to complete its takeover of the country and flush out the last pockets of Gaddafi loyalists.

“I salute the courage of those who have fought to make this possible. It is now time to launch a process of transition towards a new Libya, in which democratic principles, justice and human rights are fully respected,” the spokesman said.

“The coming months and years will test the resourcefulness and determination of the Libyan people.

“I have no doubt that they will rise to this challenge and that they will unite to ensure that Libya takes its place in the international community as a prosperous, stable and democratic state,” Mann said.

He added: “We don’t want to see any reprisals, we want to see everyone in Libya being involved in the process of rebuilding the country, even those who may previously have been identified by some with the Gaddafi regime.”

Mann also said the EU wanted to see Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam and his intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, answer to their indictments by the International Criminal Court.

EU president Herman Van Rompuy and Commission chief Manuel Barroso said in a joint statement: “The quest for freedom by the people of Libya is coming to a historic moment”

“The European Union will keep supporting the country in its democratic transition and economic reconstruction, based on social justice, inclusiveness and territorial integrity, together with the international community.”

Poland, which currently holds the rotating chair of the European Union, also celebrated the imminent fall of one of the world’s longest-standing dictators.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the end of a 42-year rule of Col. Gaddafi in Libya,” an official statement said.

“We are convinced that Colonel Moamer Gaddafi and his closest aides will answer for his crimes in Libya or before the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” the statement said.

“It will not be easy to overcome the heritage of the recent past, find national reconciliation and outline the new way forward,” the statement said.

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