NATO mission in Libya to continue: Obama

AFP , Tuesday 20 Sep 2011

The US president warned Muammar Gaddafi that it was time to lay down his arms in the face of "the new Libya"

US President Barack Obama (Photo:AP)

American President Barack Obama on Tuesday told a meeting on Libya that the NATO mission in the country would continue "so long as the Libyan people are being threatened."

And he warned those fighters still supporting ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi that they should understand "the old regime is over and it is time to lay down your arms and join the new Libya."

In another context, Obama hailed a "new chapter in the life" of Libya, saying that the nation stood as a lesson of what the global community can achieve together.

But he warned "difficult days are still ahead," in remarks released prior to a meeting on Libya at the United Nations attended by the north African country's new leaders who ousted Muammar Gaddafi in a months-long uprising.

The US President called for "free and fair elections" in Libya as the nation transitions to a new democratic rule.

"We all know what's needed. A transition that is timely. New laws and a constitution that uphold the rule of law.  Political parties and a strong civil society. And, for the first time in Libyan history, free and fair elections," he said in remarks released ahead of a UN meeting on Libya.

 Obama on Tuesday was announcing the return of the US ambassador to Libya at a key meeting at the United Nations, marking a sign of international support for the expected democratic reform in Libya.

"Today, I can announce that our ambassador is on his way back to Tripoli. And this week, the American flag that was lowered before our embassy was attacked will be raised again, over a re-opened American embassy," Obama said in remarks released ahead of the meeting.

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