Cameron, Sarkozy salute 'free Libya' in Benghazi

15th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy saluted a "free Libya" on Thursday as they visited Benghazi, the headquarters of the rebel movement that overthrew former leader Moamer Kadhafi.

As jubilant crowds cheered them, flashing V-for-victory signs, the British prime minister said, "It is great to be in a free Benghazi and in a free Libya.

"The people of Britain salute your courage."

"Your city was an inspiration to the world. You threw off a dictator and chose freedom," Cameron added. "Colonel Kadhafi said he would hunt you like rats but you show the courage of lions."

"People in Britain salute your courage and while we are proud of the role that we played to help, we know this was your revolution from your bravery from people in Benghazi, people in Tripoli, people in Zlitan, people in Brega, people in Misrata. You showed the world that you would get rid of a dictator and that you would choose freedom."

"Now, just as your courage has written the last chapter of Libyan history, so it must write the next one, and your friends in Britain and in France will stand with you as you build your democracy and build your country for the future."

The French president said: "Friends in Benghazi we ask one thing. We believe in a united Libya, not a divided Libya."

"Youth of Benghazi, youth of Libya, young Arabs: France tells you of its friendship and support.

"You wanted peace, you wanted liberty, you want economic progress. France, Great Britain and Europe will be on the side of the Libyan people."

A smiling Sarkozy was mobbed by the cheering crowds as he moved away from the podium after the two men delivered their brief remarks.

Cameron and Sarkozy, whose countries spearheaded the NATO air campaign against Kadhafi, arrived in Tripoli earlier in the day as the first major Western leaders to visit the country since the capital was seized on August 23.

© 2011 AFP

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