By Ben Geman - 07/08/12 11:59 AM EDT
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cheered Libya’s first national elections in decades and vowed to support the country in its transition from over 40 years under Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
Obama, in a statement after Saturday’s voting to elect a 200-seat General National Congress, congratulated Libyans on “another milestone on their extraordinary transition to democracy.”
Obama and Clinton, in separate comments, pledged support for the fledgling government. The elections follow the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Gadhafi last year.
Obama noted there are “difficult challenges ahead” and that voting needs to be completed in some areas.
“The United States is proud of the role that we played in supporting the Libyan revolution and protecting the Libyan people, and we look forward to working closely with the new Libya – including the elected Congress and Libya’s new leaders. We will engage as partners as the Libyan people work to build open and transparent institutions, establish security and the rule of law, advance opportunity, and promote unity and national reconciliation,” he said.
Clinton, in Tokyo on Sunday, applauded the “historic milestone” and vowed to lend a hand as Libya faces a difficult transition.
“But of course, now the hard work really begins to build an effective, transparent government that unifies the country and delivers for the Libyan people. And the United States stands ready to assist Libyans in their transition to a free, democratic Libya at peace with your neighbors and where every Libyan has a chance to fulfill his or her God-given potential,” Clinton said during a joint press conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.
Clinton is in Japan to attend an international conference on aid to Afghanistan.