US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has called on the international community to maintain their support towards Libya's emerging new leadership, while asserting that Nato's air mission will continue in the north African state till "civilians remain under threat of attack".
At this critical juncture, the international community must maintain the same sense of resolve and shared responsibility which it has so far in the past few months, Clinton said.
"We know from experience that winning a war is no guarantee of winning the peace that follows. That is why even as we sought to protect civilians and pressured Gaddafi to step down, we have supported the Libyans as they laid the groundwork for a transition to democracy that is just, inclusive, and sustainable," Clinton said during a media availability at the 'Friends of Libya gathering' in Paris.
"First, as I told my counterparts earlier today, we need to continue Nato's military mission as long as civilians remain under threat of attack.
"For the sake of the Libyan people, we have called on Gaddafi and those around him to recognise that their time is over and lay down their arms," she said.
As the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) consolidates power, US will support their efforts to demobilise and integrate fighters into a single security force, she said.
Clinton said the international community will be watching and supporting Libya's leaders as they keep their commitments to conduct an inclusive transition, act under the rule of law, and protect vulnerable populations. "And that should include enshrining the rights of women as well as men in their new constitution."
The international community, led by the United Nations, needs to help the Libyan people and their leaders pave a path to peaceful, inclusive democracy-– one that banishes violence as a political tool and promotes tolerance and pluralism, she said.
"After 42 years of Gaddafi's rule, it is going to take time to build institutions, strengthen civil society, write a constitution, hold free and fair elections, and put in place an elected, legitimate Libyan government. We encourage the world's democracies to offer expertise and technical assistance along the way," Clinton said.