Exiled prince of Libya hails new chapter

2011-10-20 22:39

London - Muhammad al-Senussi, the heir apparent in Libya's overthrown monarchy, said the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday was a victory for peace, freedom and reform in his homeland.

Speaking from exile in London, the crown prince said a new chapter had begun in Libya's history.

"The flag of freedom is now flying in Sirte and across Libya on this historic day," he said, hailing the unity that helped "rid the country of evil".

"There will be challenges ahead as we seek to rebuild our country. But if we show to the world that we are committed to democratic change and continue to display the unity that has led to victory then Libya will succeed and prosper.

"Freedom, education, healthcare and sharing the nation's wealth - all of which have been cruelly denied to Libyans for more than 40 years - must become the new cornerstones of our society."

Libya's 1951 constitution created a constitutional monarchy with his great uncle, Idris al-Mahdi al-Senussi, as the king. He was overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969.

"The new Libya must be organised under the rule of law and there is no greater time than right now to demonstrate that commitment by ensuring there are no acts of vengeance against Gaddafi's supporters and that justice is dealt with by the courts," the crown prince said.

"Today begins a new chapter in our history. I look forward now with confidence that the people of Libya will build a future we can all be proud of.

"Now is the time... to put the era of terror and oppression behind us."

The crown prince, who also paid tribute to the rebel fighters who ousted the Gaddafi regime from power, made no mention of returning to Libya himself.

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