The outgoing United Nations representative in Libya, Ian Martin, says the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last week was a wake-up call for the North African country to improve security.
"I think the attack on the U.S. Consulate and the tragic death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was a great friend of Libya, is a wake-up call to Libya to make sure that it does what is necessary to bring the security situation fully under control," Martin said at a gathering in Tripoli as he gets set to depart his post. "And I think that's the big challenge that the new government faces. It's a challenge which the United Nations will offer all assistance that we can."
The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi last week.
U.S. and Libyan officials are trying to determine who was behind the attack. It's still unclear whether it had been planned or was sparked by an anti-Islam film made in the United States that, hours before the Benghazi assault, had sparked protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
On September 16, Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif said foreign militants had been plotting the attack for months and timed it for the 9/11 anniversary.
However, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said it appeared spontaneous and unplanned, that extremists with heavier weapons "hijacked" the protest and turned it into an outright attack.
The White House says President Barack Obama has called officials at U.S. diplomatic facilities in North Africa and the Middle East to reassure them that their security is a top priority for the U.S. government.
Based on reporting by AP and Reuters