U.N. chief lauds Libyans

Oct. 24, 2011 at 1:54 AM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The Libyan transitional leaders' declaration of liberation of their country marks the attainment of freedom by the people, the U.N. secretary-general said.

Ban Ki-moon said Sunday the declaration made in Benghazi by the Libyan National Transitional Council marked a historical juncture, with the people in control of their future after decades of dictatorship.

"Today marks an occasion for Libyans to celebrate, to look forward to a future of liberties and opportunities, from the right to express an opinion freely to the right to elect their own government," Ban said in a statement issued in New York.

"From this day onward, the Libyan people will be in full charge of their future -- a future that their new leaders have declared will be based on justice and national reconciliation," Ban said.

The NTC issued its declaration three days after the death of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in his hometown of Sirte, which ended eight months of conflict between government forces and rebels.

"The end of the war is only the beginning of what Libyan fighters, youth and women have struggled for: their determination now is to build a truly new Libya, overcoming the grim legacy of human rights abuse and corruption, and now so many killed or disabled during the conflict," Ban said.

Ban was represented at the Benghazi ceremonies by Ian Martin, who is heading up the new U.N. mission set up to support the Libyan people.

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