October 20, 2011

Arab League hopes Gaddafi death ‘turns page of tyranny’

CAIRO (AFP) – Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said Thursday he hoped the death of ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled Libya with an iron fist for four decades, would “turn the page of tyranny.”

Arabi urged Libyans to “overcome the wounds of the past and to look to the future with no grudges or sentiments of revenge, warding off all that could disrupt national unity and peace.”

In a statement, the Arab League chief called on “all political forces and Libyan leadership to close ranks and build a new Libya which would fulfill the hopes and ambitions of the Libyan people for freedom.”

He said he looks to “a peaceful transition to a new political democratic system which expresses the free will of the Libyan people and preserves the independence, unity, security and stability of Libya.”

In August, Arab countries declared “full solidarity” with Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC).

The League’s call for a Libyan no-fly zone in March — one month after the start of a popular uprising– opened the way for NATO air strikes that tipped the balance in the rebels’ favour.

Gaddafi,, who for eight months refused to surrender, was captured Thursday in a sewage pipe near his hometown Sirte, Libyan fighters said.

Arabi praised “the sacrifices and the courage of the Libyan people, (who) endured pain to reach freedom, democracy and national dignity.”

He said the Arab League will “pursue efforts to support the Libyan people’s journey and stand by them in this fateful transitional phase.