Kadhafi's death 'end of an era of despotism'
(BRUSSELS) - The death of Libya's Moamer Kadhafi "marks the end of an era of despotism," European Union president Herman Van Rompuy said Thursday as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Libyans "can now look to the future."
The news that Kadhafi died in a raid in Sirte means an end also to the "repression from which the Libyan people have suffered for too long," Van Rompuy said in a joint statement with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
The pair said Libya's National Transitional Council must now "pursue a broad-based reconciliation process which reaches out to all Libyans and enables a democratic, peaceful and transparent transition in the country."
European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek will visit Libya from Saturday.
"I am happy I will be visiting a country fully liberated from a dictator who has imposed his iron fist for more than 40 years. Now Libya can truly turn the page," he added.
"We announce to the world that Kadhafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution," National Transitional Council spokesman Abdel Hafez Ghoga earlier said in the eastern city of Benghazi.
In her statement, Ashton hailed the fall of Sirte as "the end of the Kadhafi era" and said that "if confirmed" the death of Kadhafi "brings closure to a tragic period in the lives of so many Libyans."
"Libya is now under the full control of National Transitional Council forces," she said in a statement.
"After 10 months of extraordinary sacrifices, the Libyan people can say with pride and confidence that they have shaken off a regime that terrorised and oppressed for more than 40 years."
She urged the new leadership to build a democratic future in full respect for human rights, saying that "while the crimes of the past must be addressed, the leadership must also seek a path of national reconciliation."
The EU will remain "a strong and committed" partner in the future, Ashton said.
The 27-nation bloc has provided over 156 million euros in humanitarian support through the conflict, more than half of that from within the EU budget.
It is also reviewing the NTC's needs in areas such as border management, the strengthening of civil society and women's rights and communications, and has set aside funding for economic development and democratisation which will be decided with the new Libyan authorities.
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