Sarkozy urges forgiveness, reconciliation in Libya

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for forgiveness and reconciliation in Libya on Friday, adding that Moamer Kadhafi's death is not a cause for celebration despite his crimes.

Libya has found "its freedom and democratic hope. ... Now it is up to the Libyans to turn the page on the terrible years of Kadhafi and to build this future. The Libyans have a duty of forgiveness, reconciliation and unity," Sarkozy said on the sidelines of a development conference held as part France's chairmanship of the G20.

"Obviously as long as there was fighting, threats existed," Sarkozy said, "(but) we should never rejoice at the death of a man no matter what he did."

"The threat posed by Kadhafi and the group of mercenaries that was with him was a real threat to the future of Libya. Now it is time to turn the page and move toward the future."

Asked if NATO's operations in Libya were now over, Sarkozy said: "We will decide it with our allies and also listening to the NTC (Libya's National Transitional Council)." But he added that "the operation is coming to its end."

French, US and British forces spearheaded the air campaign against Kadhafi's military by the NATO military alliance, which has carried out nearly 1,000 strike sorties since March 31.

France was even involved in the ex-strongman's capture when one of its aircraft fired a warning shot at a convoy of vehicles to stop Kadhafi's escape attempt.

© 2011 AFP

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