Rome: Western leaders welcomed the death of
former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi as the end of
despotism, tyranny, dictatorship and ultimately war in the
North African country.
"It is an historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and
dictatorship. Gaddafi has met his fate," said a spokesman for
the National Transitional Council(NTC), Libya`s new rulers,
in announcing the news.
As Libyans on the streets of Tripoli and Sirte fired
automatic weapons into the air and danced for joy, world
leaders began to weigh in on the death of the man who had
ruled the oil-rich North African nation for more than 40
In US, President Barack Obama hailed Gaddafi`s death as an `end of painful chapter` for Libyans.
"Today we can definitively say that the Gaddafi regime has come to an end," he said in a televised statement from the Rose Garden of the White House. The "dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted."
Obama said the NATO mission in Libya - the United States has participated in NATO`s enforcement over a no-fly zone over Libya since the early days of that country`s uprising this year - will end soon.
"Without putting a single US (service member) on the ground, we achieved our objective, and the NATO mission will soon come to an end," Obama said.
But he reaffirmed the US commitment to the Libyan people so they can have freedom and opportunity.
In UK, Prime Minister David Cameron has said it is a day to remember Col Muammar Gaddafi`s victims after Libya confirmed the country`s former leader had been killed.
He also said people in Libya now had an even greater chance to build a strong and democratic future.
"I`m proud of the role that Britain has played in helping them to bring that about and I pay tribute to the bravery of the Libyans who have helped to liberate their country. We will help them, we will work with them, and that is what I want to say today", he was quoted as saying by BBC.
In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said
after the death of his onetime ally: "Now the war is over."
"Sic transit gloria mundi (Thus passes the glory of the
world)," Berlusconi said about the ousted ruler of Italy`s
former colony, quoting a Latin tag.
In Brussels, the European Union said that Gaddafi`s death
"marks the end of an era of despotism."
The news means an end also to the "repression from which
the Libyan people have suffered for too long," EU president
Herman Van Rompuy Van Rompuy said in a joint statement with
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek will visit
Libya from Saturday.
"I am happy I will be visiting a country fully liberated
from a dictator who has imposed his iron fist for more than 40
years. Now Libya can truly turn the page," he said.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Libyans
"can now look to the future".
In a statement, Ashton said that the death of Gaddafi
"brings closure to a tragic period in the lives of so many
"After 10 months of extraordinary sacrifices, the Libyan
people can say with pride and confidence that they have shaken
off a regime that terrorised and oppressed for more than 40
She urged the new leadership to build a democratic future
in full respect for human rights, saying that "while the
crimes of the past must be addressed, the leadership must also
seek a path of national reconciliation."
The EU will remain "a strong and committed" partner in
the future, Ashton said.
The current holder of the EU`s rotating presidency,
Poland, warned Gaddafi`s fate "should be a warning to other
dictators in the region and in the world".
The Polish foreign ministry said Warsaw would have liked
to have Gaddafi "tried for his crimes before a court in Libya
or in The Hague".
"We hope that his collaborators, wanted for crimes, will
soon be brought before the courts," it added. "We congratulate
the Libyan people on bringing to an ultimate end the
dictatorship of many years` standing."
In Washington, senior US Senator John McCain said the
death marked the end of the first phase of the Libyan
"While some final fighting continues, the Libyan people
have liberated their country," the Republican lawmaker said in
"Now the Libyan people can focus all of their immense
talents on strengthening their national unity, rebuilding
their country and economy, proceeding with their democratic
transition, and safeguarding the dignity and human rights of
all Libyans," said McCain.
"The United States, along with our European allies and
Arab partners, must now deepen our support for the Libyan
people, as they work to make the next phase of their
democratic revolution as successful as the fight to free their
country," he said.
Ban Ki Moon
The death of Libya`s former
strongman Muammar Gaddafi marks an "historic transition" for
the North African country, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
said today, as he urged Libyans to lay down their arms and
unite in this "time of rebuilding."
"Let us recognize, immediately, that this is only the end
of the beginning. The road ahead for Libya and its people will
be difficult and full of challenges," Ban said here.
Ban said while the death of Gaddafi "marks an historic
transition for Libya," combatants on all sides must lay down
their arms in peace as "this is the time for healing and
rebuilding, for generosity of spirit, not for revenge."
Urging Libyans to come together, the UN chief said the
"high hopes" sustained through the long days of revolution and
conflict must translate into opportunities and justice for
"Libyans can only realize the promise of the future
through national unity and reconciliation.......All Libyans
must be able to recognize themselves in the nation`s
government and leadership," he said.
As Libya`s transitional authorities prepare the way for
elections and take other steps toward building their new
nation, inclusion and pluralism must be the watchwords, the UN
Ban, who spoke to his Special Representative for Libya
Ian Martin in Tripoli, said the new United Nations Mission to
Libya is ready to assist Libyans in the path ahead.
France Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the death of
Muammar Gaddafi marked the end of 40 years of tyranny in Libya
and pledged its support to the people of the country for
readying a political roadmap.
"The death of Gaddafi and fall of Sirte marks the end of
a very difficult period and 40 years of tyranny in Libya. It
is the beginning of new period for the people of Libya,"
France Foreign Minister told reporters.
He said it was upto the people of Libya to decide their
"We are ready to support the political roadmap in Libya.
New period is starting and it is a new beginning for the
people of Libya," Juppe said.
"It`s the beginning of a new period, building of
democracy and reconstruction in Libya. But France and other
countries are ready to support the efforts of NTC (National
Transitional Council) in implementing its political road-map,"