Opening remarks at press conference, Tripoli (Libya)
by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Tripoli (Libya), 2 November 2011
Mr. Chairman of the National Transitional Council, Mr. President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, citizens of Libya, As-salamu alaykum!
It is a great honour for me to be visiting at this historic time in Libya – a liberated and new Libya, together with the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. We are here together to send our strong support and admiration and respect for all your heroic struggles to achieve democracy and freedom.
I salute the brave people of Libya.
You have paid a heavy price for freedom. To the families of those who died in liberating your country, please accept my deepest condolences and sympathy.
To the many thousand people who have been wounded, I wish you all a speedy recovery and happiness. Your injuries are a testament to your courage and determination.
I have just had a good and very productive meeting with Chairman Jalil of the National Transitional Council and the new Prime Minister, [Abdulrahim] el-Keib. This meeting, together with the two leaders and all the members of the National Transitional Council was very productive and useful for us to know how we can – the United Nations – can help the Libyan people in overcoming all the challenges lying ahead after this liberation.
All expressed a clear commitment to building a democratic Libya, grounded in respect for human rights and the dignity of every woman, man and child.
The new Libya aspires to be a nation free from fear, free from injustice and free from the oppression of the past.
The United Nations will be your partner in turning those hopes to reality.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and gentlemen,
The path to democracy is not easy. Building a state with effective and accountable institutions takes time.
But the Libyan people have shown that they have the skills, resources, determination and will to rise to these challenges.
In my remarks to the NTC, I said frankly that there is no magic formula, no one size that fits all. But there is at least one common denominator in any solid democracy - that is inclusiveness and dialogue.
As Libya moves forward, it is critical that you find consensus on major issues, that you remain united. That, in turn, will require a great deal of pragmatism and compromise, especially during this very important initial phase.
We spoke at length about public security and the need to secure the arsenals of the previous regime, particularly stocks of shoulder-fired missiles and chemical and biological weapons.
And we recognized the centrality of human rights and the rule of law. Issues of transnational justice must be resolved with wisdom and restraint. It is important to hold perpetrators of human rights crimes to account, as well as to promote national reconciliation.
Women and young people helped win the revolution. They deserve to participate fully in the decisions and emerging institutions that will shape their future.
The role of civil society and non-governmental organizations is key. Very shortly, I will have a meeting with a number of their representatives of civil society.
The United Nations stands ready to support the Libyan people in all the areas we discussed: elections, a new constitution, human rights, public security and the control of weapons.
Libyans inspired the world in throwing off tyranny.
In building a future of peace and dignity for all, I am confident that you will inspire the world once again.
Let me repeat: the United Nations is here to help – we are ready to provide all necessary technical assistance an logistics in every way we can, in any way you choose.
That is why we have come to Tripoli. And today, I say to you from the heart: MABROUK LIBYA AL-HURRA!