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World leaders pledge support to new Libyan authorities

September 21, 2011 19:14 IST

Backing transition plans of new Libyan authorities, world leaders have pledged support to them in areas such as Constitution-making, elections, human rights and economic recovery, amid United States President Barack Obama's assertion that NATO will continue to protect people there.

More than 50 heads of state and government took part in the high-level summit on Libya hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday.

Officials from the National Transitional Council of Libya, which have become the country's interim authorities, outlined their plans for reconstruction and recovery at the meeting, held just days after the UN Security Council

authorised creation of the UN Support Mission in Libya for an initial three-month period.

NTC President Mustafa Abdel Jalil told the gathering that the key short-term challenges include eliminating the remnants of pro-Gaddafi resistance, meeting demand for reconstruction and compensating families who lost loved ones during months of conflict between pro-democracy groups and forces supporting the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

Giving a rousing welcome to Jalil, Obama, during a meeting with him, credited the Libyans for fighting against a "tyrant" and assured him that the NATO-led mission to protect the people of the conflict-torn country will continue.

"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," Obama said.

At the summit on Libya, world leaders urged the NTC to move swiftly to form an inclusive government "that reflects the full diversity of Libyan society and aims to build a new, united, democratic and pluralistic Libya in which human rights, fundamental freedoms and justice will be guaranteed."

The authorities must "fully abide by their commitment to respect international humanitarian and human rights law in the transitional process," including protection of the rights of minorities, they said.

Participants commended the Libyan people for having "fought heroically for the respect of fundamental human rights, rule of law, dignity and freedom of expression."

They also backed the NTC's plans for the transition period and promised to mobilise international support in such areas as elections, constitution-making, human rights, security, gender issues and economic recovery.

They noted that the UN, including the Security Council, should guide the international community's efforts in supporting the transition, emphasising that it must be a Libyan-led process.

A 'Friends of Libya' group, to be co-chaired by the interim Libyan authorities and either Ban or head of UNSMIL Ian Martin, will meet periodically in the Libyan capital Tripoli to support stabilisation and reconstruction efforts. In his address to the meeting, Ban welcomed the installation of a new flag for Libya, which now flies outside UN Headquarters along with the flags of other UN members.

"We offer congratulations and best wishes for the future," he told the representatives of the NTC.

"For the past seven months, you have fought courageously for your fundamental rights and freedoms. Women and young people were in the vanguard, demanding a say in the political and socio-economic life of their country. As you look to the future, I want you to know that the United Nations will support you in every way we can."

He said America's ambassador is "on his way back to Tripoli" and offered assistance to the new UN Support Mission in Libya to assist the people there in the days ahead.

"We are encouraged that so many Libyans, from so many communities, have laid down their arms and are working together to build their nation. We urge those that have not done so to join them," said Ban.

Yoshita Singh United Nations
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