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Harper comments on Ghadafi's death

Photo by شبكة برق | B.R.Q Network via Create Commons

Moammar Gadhafi is dead.

The ousted Libyan leader was confirmed dead in his hometown of Sirte Thursday.

The Canadian Press has the story:

 

OTTAWA - Moammar Gadhafi will never be able to terrorize his own people or the world again, Stephen Harper said today after the Libyan strongman was confirmed dead.

The prime minister called Gadhafi's death the beginning of the end of Canada's military mission in Libya.

"Gadhafi's days are over. Never again will he be in a position to support terrorism or to turn guns on his own citizens,'' Harper said.

"The Libyan people can finally turn the page on 42 years of vicious oppression and continue their journey toward a better future.''

Gadhafi's death was confirmed as his hometown of Sirte fell to the one-time rebels who ousted him earlier this summer.

His demise ended 42 years totalitarian control of Libya by the man once hailed as the 'king of kings of Africa.''

Harper said he is "proud of the prominent role'' the Canadian Forces played in the NATO-led mission to Libya.

Canadian fighter jets flew 10 per cent of NATO's sorties on Libya, supporting the rebels who toppled Gadhafi's regime in August and forced him into hiding. Their United Nations-sanctioned mission was to protect innocent civilians from forces loyal to the dictator.

Canadian Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard commanded the international military coalition from a NATO base in Italy.

"Gen. Bouchard has served our country with great distinction,'' Harper said after speaking with him by telephone.

"Our government shall be speaking with our allies to prepare for the end of our military mission in the next few days.''

Canada's commitment to the mission, which also includes a navy warship and surveillance planes, was due to end in December.

Parliament approved an extension and Harper and Bouchard both said at the time they expected it would provide enough time to finish the job in Libya.

Canada recently gave Libya's new provisional government, the National Transitional Council, $10 million to clean up weapons of mass destruction and help the country make the transition to democracy.

The council said the fall of Sirte would mean Libya was fully liberated and that plans for democratic elections and a new constitution for the North African country could move forward.

"With the shadow of Gadhafi now lifted from their land, it is our hope that the Libyan people will find peace and reconciliation after this dark period in the life of their nation,'' said Harper.

"We look forward to working with them.''

Canada has also released about $2.2 billion in Gadhafi's seized assets, money that will help the council run Libya. And Canada recently reopened its embassy in Tripoli after closing it Feb. 26.

A priority of Canada's newly functioning embassy will be helping Canadian companies, including Alberta oil producer Suncor and Montreal engineering firm SNC Lavalin, resume operations.

Calgary-based energy firm Suncor had been working with the state-owned National Oil Corp. and was producing about 50,000 barrels of oil a day before the violence began.

SNC Lavalin is involved in several Libyan ventures, including building a prison and part of a water-supply system.

Representatives from those companies and Pure Technologies of Calgary recently accompanied Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on his recent trip to Tripoli, his second to Libya this year.

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