By NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
The Qadhafi regime is clearly crumbling. The sooner Qadhafi realises that he cannot win the battle against his own people, the better — so that the Libyan people can be spared further bloodshed and suffering.
The Libyan people have suffered tremendously under Qaddafi’s rule for over four decades. Now they have a chance for a new beginning. Now is the time for all threats against civilians to stop, as the United Nations Security Council demanded. Now is the time to create a new Libya – a state based on freedom, not fear; democracy, not dictatorship; the will of the many, not the whims of a few.
That transition must come peacefully. It must come now. And it must be led and defined by the Libyan people.
NATO is ready to work with the Libyan people and with the Transitional National Council, which holds a great responsibility. They must make sure that the transition is smooth and inclusive, that the country stays united, and that the future is founded on reconciliation and respect for human rights.
Qadhafi’s remaining allies and forces also have a great responsibility. It is time to end their careers of violence. The world is watching them. This is their opportunity to side with the Libyan people and choose the right side of history.
We will continue to monitor military units and key facilities, as we have since March, and when we see any threatening moves towards the Libyan people, we will act in accordance with our UN mandate.
Our goal throughout this conflict has been to protect the people of Libya, and that is what we are doing.
Because the future of Libya belongs to the Libyan people. And it is for the international community to assist them, with the United Nations and the Contact Group playing a leading role. NATO wants the Libyan people to be able to decide their future in freedom and in peace. Today, they can start building that future.