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Obama Hails 'New Chapter' For Libya At UN


U.S. President Barack Obama (right) meets with Libya's National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil at the United Nations in New York.

U.S. President Barack Obama (right) meets with Libya's National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil at the United Nations in New York.

U.S. President Barack Obama has hailed what he described as a "new chapter" for Libya following the fall of Muammar Qaddafi's regime.

He was speaking at the United Nations in New York on September 20, ahead of talks between representatives from the United States and its allies on Libya's future.

"After four decades of darkness, [Libyans] can walk the streets free from a tyrant," he said. "They are making their voices heard in new newspapers and on radio and television, in public squares and on personal blogs."

Obama promised the Libyan people that the world would stand with them as they reshape their country and promised that NATO-led air strikes would continue as long as Qaddafi loyalists remained a threat.

The ceremony was attended by Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who praised the international coalition for its assistance in the uprising in which he said some 25,000 people had died.

He also promised fair trials for captured members of the ousted regime.

Meanwhile Qaddafi, who has been in hiding since opposition forces captured the capital of Tripoli in August, issued a defiant audio message warning his opponents that NATO protection could not last indefinitely.

The new regime's forces said they had captured keys positions close to the southern desert city of Sabha.

Fighting also continues for control of Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli, and Qaddafi's birthplace, the Mediterranean city of Sirte.

compiled from agency reports

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