Remarks With Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf Before Their Meeting
Secretary of State
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s wonderful to welcome the President of Libya and his distinguished delegation here to New York.
As we all know, the United States lost a great ambassador and the Libyan people lost a true friend when Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the terrorist assault on our consulate in Benghazi.
Through everything, the President and the Libyan Government have been staunch partners to the United States. I want to thank them in person, as we already have through communications and through your Ambassador, for the important efforts that they are taking to help find and bring to justice all those responsible for the attacks. I’d also like to thank the Libyan people for the outpouring of support they have shown to not only Ambassador Stevens, but on behalf of the United States.
This summer, the Libyan people had the chance to choose their own leaders, and we have a President who has been freely chosen by the Libyan people. Courage has been the defining characteristic of the Libyan people over these last two years – courage to rise up and overthrow a dictator; courage to choose the hard path of democracy; courage to stand against violence and division in their country and the world. And Mr. President, that kind of courage deserves our support.
The United States was proud to stand with you and the Libyan people as you fought for your country last year. And we will continue to stand with you as you now write Libya’s new future as a democracy that will give all of your people a chance to have a better future.
PRESIDENT MAGARIAF: (Via interpreter.) Madam Secretary, at the outset, I would like to thank you, Secretary of State Clinton, for these kind words that you have expressed towards our Libyan people, towards the Libyan revolution, and toward the General National Congress of Libya that is today the legitimate and – the legitimacy and the legitimate authority in Libya.
Madam Secretary, I wouldn’t wish to speak for long, but however, before we continue, I would like to express – again reiterate the expression of my sincerest condolences, the condolences of the Libyan National Congress, the Libyan Government, the Libyan people, to you, to President Obama, and to the American people and to the families of the victims that fell during this painful, tragic tragedy. And they were the victims Ambassador Chris Stevens and his three comrades.
Madam Secretary, that was a very painful, huge tragedy, not only to the American people and the families of the victims but also for the Libyan people. The Libyan people lost a friend, lost someone who was very supportive of them, someone who was very supportive of their revolution, and someone who was always there for them.
Madam Secretary, undoubtedly, the understanding that was expressed by President Obama, by you as Secretary of State, towards these tragic events and your positive expression to continue to support Libya has led to mitigating the repercussions of this regrettable tragedy and incident on our close relationship.
Madam Secretary, their support, of course, mitigated the repercussions and the consequences. However, on the other hand, that support also furthered the responsibility on our shoulders towards taking responsibility – a great responsibility – for this tragedy and also let us look at the necessity to expedite the investigation in the incident and to pursue – to bring to justice those perpetrators. Of course, we are – we express our great readiness to cooperate with the U.S. Government in order to cooperate in the investigation and bring those perpetrators to justice.
Madam Secretary, I also will seize this opportunity to reaffirm that what happened on the 11th of September towards these U.S. citizens does not express in any way the conscience of the Libyan people, their aspirations, their hopes, or their sentiments towards the American people.
Madam Secretary, and I am confident that the protest that happened last Friday in Benghazi and the other protests that took place across the Libyan cities in protest to what happened are a very clear message to how we feel toward the United States. These protests embodied the conscience of the Libyan people. The Libyan people have spoken through these protests last Friday and expressed their true sentiments, how they feel towards the U.S. Administration and American people. You have mentioned the courage of the Libyan people, and we truly appreciate those words.
Madam Secretary, there is no doubt that the Libyan people have shown to the world and perhaps to across the world with their true courage and their love for their country and for the love for the freedom.
Madam Secretary, their courage would not have been possible for them also to win over a tyrant if it were not for the unlimited U.S. support, the political and military support of the United States, and the United States support in – at all levels that was given to the Libyan revolution, that the U.S. Administration gave to the Libyan revolution as well as your support, President Obama’s support, the American people’s support, and the support of the entire international community to this revolution.
This not only makes it our duty to thank you, thank the United States as well as the international community for that support, but that also makes it our duty to rise up to the level of the confidence and the trust that you, the United States, and the international community have put in us.
Madam Secretary, of course, despite all the challenges, the perils, the difficulties, and the – all the obstacles that we faced, the Libyan people were able – humbly as well as with pride – to show to the world the degree of their keenness to safeguard this revolution and to make it a success in order to bring about the goals – the noble and great goals of this revolution, mainly to establish a constitutional, democratic, civil state that would be based on pluralism and a peaceful transfer of authority.
Undoubtedly, these elections that happened over the past summer and brought about the General National Congress in Libya and also demonstrated the transparent elections that brought to power a new prime minister, all these events show and send a message of the new road that Libya is determined to take.
I am confident that the General National Congress and this new government – the new government are keen on undertaking their duties and fulfilling their responsibilities with integrity and sincerity as well as responsibility towards the world.