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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Libya leaders hailed at UN, assailed by Kadhafi

BENGHAZI: Libya's former rebel leaders basked in praise Tuesday at the United Nations while fugitive strongman Moamer Kadhafi issued an audio message calling the new government a "charade."

With the new Libyan flag flying at the UN headquarters, interim government leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil thanked all nations who aided with the "success of the Libyan revolution," which he revealed had left at least 25,000 dead.

US President Barack Obama hailed a "new chapter" for Libya as the victorious rebels' red, black and green flag was hoisted at the United Nations ahead of the annual General Assembly.

But Obama warned Kadhafi loyalists still putting up resistance in their remaining bastions to lay down their arms, promising that NATO-led air strikes would continue as long as the fighters remained a threat.

"Today, the Libyan people are writing a new chapter in the life of their nation," the US president told world leaders at a UN meeting on Libya being held on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

"After four decades of darkness, they can walk the streets, free from a tyrant," he told the meeting.

Credit for the "liberation of Libya, belongs to the people of Libya," he insisted, but stressed the international community was not pulling out yet.

"So long as the Libyan people are being threatened, the NATO-led mission to protect them will continue. And those still holding out must understand the old regime is over, and it is time to lay down your arms and join the new Libya," the US commander-in-chief said.

Obama met Jalil, Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) chief, for the first time Tuesday and the US leader said the focus should also now turn to a democratic transition after 42 years of dictatorship, including "free and fair elections."

The United Nations and world leaders all promised to help the new government with its campaign to take remaining territory held by Kadhafi fighters and to rebuild the country and organize elections.

"For the past seven months, you have fought courageously for your fundamental rights and freedoms," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Jalil as he launched the summit.

Amid new battles for towns still in the hands of Kadhafi loyalists, Ban said "the first priority must be peace and security."

Jalil praised the NATO-led coalition for its assistance in the uprising in which he said some 25,000 people had died, and he promised fair trials for captured members of the ousted regime.

The new Libyan leader vowed that the new government would be a "vibrant" democracy that respects regional peace and security.

The NTC chairman said many Kadhafi regime members had been detained and some had been freed again. Many would face justice but Jalil insisted all would get a "fair trial."

Jalil told Obama that Kadhafi was still in the country, according to a US official.Read orme

This Articel Orignaly Published at The news Pk

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