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Kerry on Qaddafi’s Death

Washington, DC – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA), an early proponent of a no-fly zone for Libya, today issued the following statement regarding reports of Muammar Qaddafi’s death:

“Qaddafi’s death marks the end of his reign of terror and the promise of a new Libya. The United States demonstrated clear-eyed leadership, patience, and foresight by pushing the international community into action after Qaddafi promised a massacre. Though the Administration was criticized both for moving too quickly and for not moving quickly enough, it is undeniable that the NATO campaign prevented a massacre and contributed mightily to Qaddafi’s undoing without deploying boots on the ground or suffering a single American fatality. This is a victory for multilateralism and successful coalition-building in defiance of those who derided NATO and predicted a very different outcome.

Qaddafi denied Libya the basic building blocks of democracy and instead leaves behind a legacy of cruelty and international isolation. This is an extraordinary moment, but the days ahead will not be easy. The Middle East revolutions remind us that creating a free and tolerant political order is a more difficult challenge than removing a despotic one. The Libyan people have inspired the world with their incredible courage and fierce determination to be free. I urge the leaders of the Transitional National Council to begin the political transition to a permanent, democratically elected government. And I urge the international community to continue to stand with the Libyan people and support the creation of viable governing institutions.” 

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published in March, Senator Kerry argued for NATO action saying, “The military intervention was not directly intended to force Gadhafi from power, but the international community will remain united in maintaining diplomatic and economic pressure on a thug who has lost any legitimacy he ever possessed. There are many options and tools available to us to achieve our ultimate desire of seeing Gadhafi go. While it is impolitic perhaps to suggest it, I'd underscore that destroying his Soviet-era military capacity has been the biggest step towards that goal.”