European Union Leaders on Developments in Libya

Aug 22, 2011, 10:27 ET from Delegation of the European Union to the United States

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a joint statement by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy:

"The quest for freedom by the people of Libya is coming to a historic moment. The relentless efforts of the forces of the new Libya, supported militarily by NATO and several EU Member States, and countries from the region are bringing the Gaddafi regime to its end. We urge Colonel Gaddafi to accept the will of the people, step down immediately, and avoid further bloodshed and sufferance.

"The way is now open for Libya for freedom and self-determination. The European Union will keep supporting the country in its democratic transition and economic reconstruction, based on social justice, inclusiveness and territorial integrity, together with the international community.

"The developments in Libya are giving fresh momentum to the Arab Spring. The quest of the people in the region for freedom and dignity will continue. The European Union stands by them and supports their democratic aspirations and choices."

Statement by Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission:

"We are witnessing the last moments of the Gaddafi regime. I call on Gaddafi to step down without further delay and avoid further bloodshed.

"I call on the National Transitional Council and opposition forces to ensure the protection of civilians, to fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law and to act with responsibility in the interests of maintaining peace and stability throughout the country.

"Today Libya is entering a new era. I salute the courage of those who have fought to make this possible. It is now time to launch a process of transition towards a new Libya, in which democratic principles, justice and human rights are fully respected.

"The coming months and years will test the resourcefulness and determination of the Libyan people. I have no doubt that they will rise to this challenge and that they will unite to ensure that Libya takes its place in the international community as a prosperous, stable and democratic state. For its part the EU will continue to offer support and will remain a strong and committed partner for the Libyan people."

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SOURCE Delegation of the European Union to the United States