Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is dead. "This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya, who now have the opportunity to determine their own identity in a new and democratic Libya," said President Barack Obama:
"For four decades the Gadhafi regime ruled the Libyan people with an iron fist. Basic human rights were denied, innocent civilians were detained, beaten and killed, and Libya's wealth was squandered. The enormous potential of the Libyan people was held back, and terror was used as a political weapon."
A year ago, President Obama noted, "a free Libya seemed impossible." But the courageous Libyan people would not be denied. They fought for their rights with support from the international community:
"Faced with the potential of mass atrocities, and a call for help from the Libyan people, the United States and our friends and allies stopped Gadhafi's forces in their tracks. A coalition that included the United States, NATO and Arab nations persevered through the summer to protect Libyan civilians."
With the shadow of tyranny lifted, said President Obama, Libya's people now have a momentous opportunity:
"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. We look forward to the announcement of the country's liberation, the quick formation of an interim government and a stable transition to Libya's first free and fair elections."
President Obama called on Libyans "to work with the international community to secure dangerous materials and to respect the human rights of all Libyans, including those who have been detained." He noted that "Libya will travel a long and winding road to full democracy," with difficult days ahead. "But the United States," he said, "together with the international community, is committed to the Libyan people."
"You have won your revolution," President Obama told the people of Libya, "and now we will be a partner as you forge a future that provides dignity, freedom and opportunity."