Obama Congratulates Libyans on Their Liberation Day

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2011 — Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma con­grat­u­lat­ed the Libyan peo­ple on their Lib­er­a­tion Day, say­ing the nation is begin­ning a “new era of promise.”

In Tripoli, lead­ers of the Tran­si­tion­al Nation­al Coun­cil declared today Lib­er­a­tion Day, thus offi­cial­ly end­ing 42 years of Moam­mar Gadhafi’s tyran­ni­cal rule. The Libyan ruler was killed Oct. 20 in Sirte.

Libyans greet­ed Lib­er­a­tion Day with jubi­la­tion, with many instances of cel­e­bra­to­ry gun­fire heard across the nation.

“On behalf of the Amer­i­can peo­ple, I con­grat­u­late the peo­ple of Libya on today’s his­toric dec­la­ra­tion of lib­er­a­tion,” Oba­ma said in a writ­ten dec­la­ra­tion released by the White House today. “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.”

But Oba­ma not­ed that much hard work remains in Libya. He said the offi­cials of the Tran­si­tion­al Nation­al Coun­cil must turn their atten­tion to the polit­i­cal tran­si­tion ahead.

“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,” the pres­i­dent said.

Oba­ma called on Libyan lead­ers to respect human rights, to rec­on­cile with Gadhafi’s fol­low­ers and bring togeth­er dis­parate armed groups under gov­ern­ment con­trol. He also called on Libyan lead­ers to secure weapons and dan­ger­ous mate­ri­als.

“As they take these steps, the Unit­ed States will con­tin­ue our close coop­er­a­tion with our inter­na­tion­al part­ners and the U.N. sup­port mis­sion in Libya to help advance a sta­ble, demo­c­ra­t­ic tran­si­tion,” he wrote.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)