President Obama said today that the death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi marks “the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya, who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya.”
“Today, we can definitively say that the Gadhafi regime has come to an end,” Obama said in the first official White House response to the killing of the long-time leader. ”The last major regime strongholds have fallen. The new government is consolidating the control over the country, and one of the world’s longest-serving dictators is no more.”
The president commended the Libyan people for demanding their rights and noted “for the region, today’s events prove once more [that] the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end. Across the Arab world, citizens have stood up to claim their rights. Youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship. And those leaders who try to deny their human dignity will not succeed.”
Just seven months after the president authorized forces to begin limited military action in Libya, Obama praised the global community that “refused to stand idly by.”
He hailed the U.S. strategy.
“Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives, and our NATO mission will soon come to an end,” he said.
Obama stressed that the Libyan people face a long road ahead.
“The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted, and with this enormous promise the Libyan people now have a great responsibility: to build an inclusive and tolerant and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Gadhafi’s dictatorship,” he said.
“We’re under no illusions,” Obama added. “Libya will travel a long and winding road to full democracy. There will be difficult days ahead. But the United States, together with the international community, is committed to the Libyan people. You have won your revolution, and now we will be a partner as you forge a future that provides dignity, freedom and opportunity.”