Paris, 22 August 2011
End of a dictatorship
Yes, we took risks in Libya, at both diplomatic and military level. It was France who was the architect of UNSCR 1973. We – with our British friends in particular – were the sponsors of that resolution, which set the legal framework for the international intervention and, at the last minute, spared Benghazi’s population from a premeditated bloodbath. I won’t forget the gravity of the Security Council meeting where I spoke out in France’s name to secure the decision.
Within NATO, it was France who made the greatest contribution, and I’d like to pay tribute to our pilots, our seamen and all our armed forces for their courage and professionalism.
But as in Côte d’Ivoire, the risks taken were calculated. The cause – to which President Sarkozy and our diplomatic service were steadfastly committed – was just, because it was the liberation of a people and of democracy.
France’s people and parliament lent us their support. The most sceptical individuals quickly started to talk of getting bogged down, even though the operation had only begun in March. Today, the goal is about to be achieved. Gaddafi’s regime no longer has any future. His last supporters must finally act with dignity, stop fighting and lay down their weapons to prevent any more bloodshed.
From now on, we must look to the future. It’s for the Libyan people, and for them alone, to build the new Libya they’ve fought for. But it’s our duty to support them in this rebirth, which will not be free of difficulties. It’s true that Libya is a country with the potential for considerable wealth. That wealth must be put at the service of the country and its people. Everything, or nearly everything, has yet to be built or rebuilt. The international community must join in the effort, and in the vanguard will be France, whose early and unstinting support did her particular credit. A new page will be turned in Franco-Libyan relations. We’ll help to write it with the same determination and confidence.
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