Remarks With Prime Minister of Libya Abdullah al-Thinni Before Their Meeting
Secretary of State
SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning. I’m very pleased to welcome the Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni here in Washington.
This is a very critical time in Libya. We are very much encouraging all Libyans to respect the recent election of the Council of Representatives and to support the work of the constitutional defining assembly and to reject the use of violence.
Libya’s challenges can really only be solved by Libyans themselves, but we are committed to stand by them as they engage in the difficult work of doing so. We believe that Libya is filled with possibilities, even at this difficult moment. And we intend to work very, very closely with our Libyan friends in an effort to try to help to build the capacity of the government to be able to restore stability to this country.
As we announced on July 26th, we have had to temporarily – and I emphasize temporarily – relocate our personnel out of the Embassy in Tripoli because of the fighting going on around them, not directly at it, but around it. And we wanted to make sure we were providing for the security of our personnel, who are temporarily operating from other places.
Above all, we want the recent elections that took place in Libya to be respected, and that means the legitimate Council of Representatives needs to be seated and the government needs to be able to move on with its work. We are committed to continuing to support the Libyan people, to work with the Libyan Government, and to return our people to Tripoli as soon as the security situation allows.
So thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister, for being with us today. I look forward to our conversation.
PRIME MINISTER AL-THINNI: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. In the name of God, the merciful and the compassionate, I seize the opportunity of my presence here in Washington and the commencement of the first U.S.-Africa Summit, particularly the economic forum, to express my high regard for the efforts that President Obama himself and the U.S. Government and the people, the U.S. people, have extended to provide indefinite and limitless support to Libya.
And I would also like to thank the U.S. President, President Obama and the American people for the special role that they have played before the liberation of Libya and specifically for President Obama’s move to freeze the assets of al-Qadhafi and the former – and his former elite allied with him.
And I also highly value the role that President Obama played in – with the affair of the Libyan oil tanker, which oil was trying to be – some parties were trying to seize it, and when he also issued instructions to stop it, and this has ensured that Libya became a secure place and nobody could advance threats against it. And as a result, the Libyan Government has managed to solve the crisis of the oil. And today, we have four oil ports that are able to export oil inside of the security situation in that region.
And we also ask the United States to stand by the Libyan people and parliament and its government so that it can overcome this very difficult period that it’s experiencing. And particularly by pressuring the various warring parties, which have really destroyed the infrastructure of the city of Tripoli. And these parties have engaged in aggression against the country’s airports, against civilians. They have killed and terrorized innocent civilians.
I also ask the U.S. to provide – to support us in our effort to bring up our institutions, particularly the army and the police, so that weapons are only in the hands of elements of these two institutions.
And I would like to assure everybody that despite all the challenges and problems and armed conflict that Libya is experiencing, we hope that, with the assistance of our friends, particularly the U.S., we’ll be able to overcome this critical stage and lay the foundations of a democratic system and the peaceful transition of power.
We also urge the Libyan parliament to take very strong and solid resolutions that would enable the Libyan state and the apparatuses the state to be strong so that it can also overcome this very critical stage. And thank you very much for this meeting.
Thank you very much.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much.