The president met the leader of the National Transitional Council on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, ahead of talks between the United States and its allies on Libya’s future.
In remarks released ahead of the international meting, Obama called on those fighters still supporting Gaddafi to lay down their arms, warning that the NATO mission in the country would continue.
With the new Libyan flag flying over the United Nations building in New York, Obama was also announce the return of the US ambassador to Tripoli and that the US flag was to be raised again over a reopened American embassy.
“Today, the Libyan people are writing a new chapter in the life of their nation. After four decades of darkness, they can walk the streets, free from a tyrant,” he was to tell the meeting also attended by the country’s new leaders.
Credit for the “liberation of Libya, belongs to the people of Libya,” he insisted, but stressed the international community was not pulling out yet.
“Libya is a lesson in what the international community can achieve when we stand together as one,” he said in the remarks.
“Important, too, is how this effort succeeded — thanks to the leadership and contributions of many nations. The United States was proud to play a decisive role, especially in the first days, and then in a supporting capacity.”
But Obama said it was an international effort, paying tribute to the Arab League and to NATO, which led a military coalition of nearly 20 countries.
“So long as the Libyan people are being threatened, the NATO-led mission to protect them will continue. And those still holding out must understand-the old regime is over, and it is time to lay down your arms and join the new Libya,” the US commander-in-chief said.
And Obama warned the focus should also now turn to a democratic transition after four decades of one-man rule that is “peaceful, inclusive and just.”
“We all know what’s needed. A transition that is timely. New laws and a constitution that uphold the rule of law. Political parties and a strong civil society. And, for the first time in Libyan history, free and fair elections.”
“To the people of Libya: this is your chance,” Obama said. “And today the world is saying, in one unmistakable voice, we will stand with you as you seize this moment of promise; as you reach for the freedom, the dignity and the opportunity you deserve.”
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