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World leaders speak of Gadhafi victims, new era for Libya

By Peter Wilkinson and Marc Straus, CNN
October 21, 2011 -- Updated 0224 GMT (1024 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Vatican reflects on human suffering
  • Venezuela's Chavez says Gadhafi will be remembered as a martyr
  • NATO leader urges the Libyan government to prevent reprisals
  • British Prime Minister Cameron says it's a day to remember Gadhafi's victims

(CNN) -- Reaction to the death of deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi poured in Thursday from around the world with common themes: regret for those killed during Gadhafi's rule, calls for national reconciliation and a move toward democracy.

When it became clear that Gadhafi was killed as National Transitional Council troops overran remaining pockets of resistance in Sirte, leaders spoke about what his passing means for Libya moving forward.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary-general:

"After 42 years, Colonel Qadhafi`s rule of fear has finally come to an end. Libya can draw a line under a long dark chapter in its history and turn over a new page. Now the people of Libya can truly decide their own future. I call on all Libyans to put aside their differences and work together to build a brighter future. I urge the National Transitional Council to prevent any reprisals against civilians and to show restraint in dealing with defeated pro-Qadhafi forces.

"NATO and our partners have successfully implemented the historic mandate of the United Nations to protect the people of Libya. We will terminate our mission in coordination with the United Nations and the National Transitional Council. With the reported fall of Bani Walid and Sirte, that moment has now moved much closer."

David Cameron, British prime minister:

British PM: Remember Gadhafi's victims

"Prime Minister (Mahmoud) Jibril has confirmed that Col. Gadhafi is dead. I think today is a day to remember all of Col. Gadhafi's victims. From those who died in connection with the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, to Yvonne Fletcher in a London street, and obviously all of those victims of IRA terrorism who died through their use of Libyan semtex. We should also remember the many, many Libyans who died at the hands of this brutal dictator and his regime."

Angela Merkel, German chancellor:

"This day draws a line beneath the Gadhafi regime; it is an important day for the Libyans. A bloody war that Gadhafi waged against his own people now comes to a close. The way is finally clear for a new and peaceful political beginning. Germany is relieved and glad. Libya must now quickly make further determined steps in the direction of democracy and make sure the achievements of the Arab Spring to date are irreversible. Germany will accompany and support Libya on this path to democracy, the rule of law and national reconciliation."

Nicolas Sarkozy, French president:

"The disappearance of Moammar Gadhafi is a major step in the struggle lead for the last eight months by the Libyan people to free themselves from dictatorship and violence that has been imposed upon them for more than 40 years.

"The freeing of Sirte must mark, in accordance with commitments made by the National Transitional Council, the beginning of a process approved by the NTC in Libya to establish a democratic system in which all parts of the country will have their place and where fundamental freedoms will be guaranteed.

"As it was in the beginning of the uprising of the Libyan people against the oppression, France is at its side to support this process. A new era has begun for the Libyan people, one of reconciliation in unity and freedom."

Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, and Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council:

"The reported death of Muammar Gaddafi marks the end of an era of despotism and repression from which the Libyan people have suffered for too long. Today Libya can turn a page in its history and embrace a new democratic future. We call on the National Transitional Council to pursue a broad based reconciliation process which reaches out to all Libyans and enables a democratic, peaceful and transparent transition in the country."

Ban Ki-moon, U.N. secretary-general:

"Today marks the end of the 42-year reign of the Qadhafi regime. Libya now closes a painful and tragic chapter and starts a new one based on national reconciliation, justice, respect for human rights and the rule of law. At this historic moment I call upon the people of Libya to come together, as they can only realize the promise of the future through national unity and reconciliation.

"I pay tribute to the Libyan people for their steadfastness and courage through all the pain they endured. I convey the condolences of the United Nations to the families of those who gave their lives in a struggle for freedom. This is the time for healing and rebuilding, and not for revenge.

"The road ahead is full of challenges, but also opportunities. The Libyan people look forward to a democratic political system based on pluralism, respect for women, youth and minority rights, and a peaceful transition of power."

The Vatican:

"The news of the death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi marks the end of a much too long and tragic phase of a brutal struggle to bring down a harsh and oppressive regime.

"This dramatic event obliges us yet again to reflect on the immense toll of human suffering which accompanies the affirmation and collapse of any system which is not based on the respect and dignity of the human person, but rather on the prevailing affirmation of power.

"It is hoped now that the Libyan people might be spared further violence due to a spirit of revenge, and that the new leaders can undertake as soon possible efforts necessary for bringing peace and rebuilding in a spirit of solidarity, based on justice and the rule of law. May the international community also be committed to generously helping in the rebuilding of the nation."

India's External Affairs Ministry:

"We have seen reports that Col. Gadhafi has been killed in Sirte, Libya. The strife in Libya and the suffering of its people has been a matter of concern to us. We hope that peace and stability would soon return to Libya. India's relations with the people of Libya are deep and long standing. At this juncture, India reiterates its readiness to extend all possible assistance to the people of Libya in their political transition and rebuilding of the country."

Trinidad Jimenez, Spanish foreign minister:

"The confirmation of the death of Gadhafi and some of his closest collaborators brings an end to a sad period for the Libyan people and the start of a new era in which the future can only be decided by the Libyan people.

"Now is the time to call for reconciliation and unity among all Libyans. According to the Road Map approved by the NTC, a transitional government should be formed that will take charge of the process that will culminate in a Constitution and democratic elections. In that government it's necessary that all the regions, ideologies and sensibilities feel comfortable.

"Those responsible for the repression should be held responsible for their crimes before the courts. The coming transitional government should apply this criteria in a way so that it's not incompatible with the objective of a national reconciliation."

South Africa:

"The South African Government wishes to reiterate its view that a lasting and sustainable peaceful solution is possible through an all inclusive political process that will culminate in the holding of the first ever democratic elections in accordance with the roadmap as announced by the National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya.

"The South African Government sincerely hopes that the latest events will lead to a cessation of hostilities and the restoration of peace. We urge the NTC to begin in earnest the process of building national unity and reconciliation as well as the disarmament of all combatants and their reintegration into society."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:

"I was talking with (Cuban leader) Raul Castro. He was telling me '(Gadhafi) is going to get killed for sure.' Regrettably, Gadhafi's death has been confirmed. He was murdered. Well, this is another attempt against life. What else can I say?" Chavez said, as reported by CNN affiliate Globovision.

The president also said Gadhafi will be "remembered all of my life as a great fighter, a revolutionary and a martyr."

CNN's Rafael Romo contributed to this report.

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