The death of Libya's former strongman Muammar Gaddafi marks an "historic transition" for the North African country, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday, as he urged Libyans to lay down their arms and unite in this "time of rebuilding."
"Let us recognise, 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.
Gaddafi was on Thursday shot and killed by rebels in his hometown of Sirte after the revolutionary forces overran his last bastion.
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 all.
"Libyans can only realize the promise of the future through national unity and reconciliation...All Libyans must be able to recognise 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 chief added.
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.