Nabil Al-Arabi hopes Qaddafi death ‘turns page of tyranny’

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CAIRO: Arab League chief Nabil Al-Arabi said Thursday he hoped the death of ousted Libyan leader Moamer Qaddafi, who ruled Libya with an iron fist for four decades, would "turn the page of tyranny."

The secretary general of the 22-member body urged Libyans to "overcome the wounds of the past and to look to the future with no grudges or sentiments of revenge, warding off all that could disrupt national unity and peace."

Al-Arabi called on "all political forces and Libyan leadership to close ranks and build a new Libya which would fulfill the hopes and ambitions of the Libyan people for freedom."

In August, Arab countries declared "full solidarity" with Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC).

The popular uprising that erupted in mid-February to topple Qaddafi has claimed more than 25,000 lives, according to the NTC.

Al-Arabi said the League would "pursue efforts to support the Libyan people’s journey and stand by them in this fateful transitional phase."

The pan-Arab body’s call for a Libyan no-fly zone in March opened the way for NATO air strikes which tipped the balance in the rebels’ favor.

NATO launched a total of 9,618 strike sorties to prevent Qaddafi from crushing the rebellion.

Qaddafi, who for eight months refused to surrender, was captured Thursday in a sewage pipe near his hometown Sirte.

He had been toppled in August when NTC fighters overran his headquarters in the capital Tripoli, but his whereabouts were unknown.

Egypt’s government, which officially recognized the NTC as the legitimate government of Libya in August, said it was ready to support efforts to rebuild the country.

Cairo "hopes the Libyan people will open a new chapter and rebuild their country after the death of Colonel Moamer Qaddafi," it said, adding that Egypt was "ready to support the Libyan people in reconstructing their country."

It stressed Egypt’s "willingness to offer all possible support to Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) …. to establish a free democratic system to meet the Libyan people’s aspirations and achieve the revolution’s goals."

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