WASHINGTON, Oct 23: US President Barack Obama hailed Sunday the liberation of Libya as a "new era of promise" and urged a "national reconciliation process" as it develops into a secure, democratic country. "We look forward to working with the TNC and an empowered transitional government as they prepare for the country's first free and fair elections," Obama said in a written statement, pledging to "help advance a stable, democratic transition."
A Benghazi report adds: Libya's new leaders on Sunday declared the country "liberated", three days after ousted despot Moamer Kadhafi was captured and killed, paving the way for the formation of an interim government.
The long-awaited declaration came amid raging controversy over the circumstances of Kadhafi's death after he was taken alive during the fall of his hometown Sirte. Britain said the incident had "stained" the National Transitional Council (NTC).
"Declaration of Liberation. Raise your head high. You are a free Libyan," NTC vice chairman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga told a massive rally in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the uprising against Kadhafi was launched eight months ago.
Tens of thousands of voices echoed him chanting, "You are a free Libyan."
In reaction to the announcement in Benghazi, US President Barrack Obama swiftly hailed Libya's "era of promise" and urged national reconciliation.
Benghazi's Kish Square was awash with the green, red and black flags of the revolution that toppled Kadhafi, while the formal declaration raised a deafening roar that reverberated across the Mediterranean city.
Interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, in his address, urged Libyans to abide by the law and respect property, reiterating that Islamic sharia law would be the main source of the north African nation's legislation.
Abdel Jalil also gave thanks to NATO and regional allies for their roles in toppling Kadhafi, and paid special tribute to all those who lost their lives in the battle for Libya's freedom.
"I call on everyone to remove hatred from their hearts... it is essential to build Libya," he added.
Abdel Rahman al-Kabisi, minister of martyrs and the wounded, told the gathering that the event marked "a great historic moment in beloved Libya's history."
"Oh pharaoh of the century (Kadhafi), you are now in the bin of history... in a stroke of fate ... you have been thrown into the bin of history. Go to hell," he thundered.
"The issue of the martyrs, the wounded and the missing is a priority for Libya's government," he said.
Interim prime minister Mahmud Jibril said the formation of a new government is expected to take "from a week to a month." AFP
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