Tomorrow, the United States will join in solidarity with the Libyan people and our international partners to mark one year since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1973. I have never been more proud than to cast that historic vote on behalf of the United States and President Obama that saved countless thousands of innocent lives. As President Obama said at the General Assembly last September, Resolution 1973 showed “how the international community is supposed to work—nations standing together for the sake of peace and security, and individuals claiming their rights.”
Tomorrow’s anniversary also recalls the brutality that confronted the Libyan people as Muammar Qadhafi’s forces massed on the outskirts of Benghazi. We remember Qadhafi’s vile pledge to hunt down ordinary people like “rats.” We remember young women and men who were arrested, beaten, and indiscriminately murdered as they tried to assert their human rights. We remember the bravery of those who took unprecedented risks to call for the world’s help, including the Libyan delegation at the United Nations. And we remember the international solidarity forged by the Arab League’s historic request for intervention. We will always remember those who fought courageously throughout Libya and behind the front lines to bring down a tyrant.
One year later, the United States is full of admiration for the accomplishments of the Libyan people, who have embraced democratic principles and begun the hard work of rebuilding their nation. We look forward to the next steps of this remarkable transition—from the June elections to the drafting of a new constitution—and remain mindful of the work it will yet take for Libya’s people to build a strong, just and unified nation. As they do, they will continue to have the United States as a friend by their side.
Throughout this period of extraordinary change, the United States has been guided by a set of core principles—including support for universal rights, political and economic reform, and opposition to violence and repression—and a belief that all people deserve dignity, opportunity, and freedom. Though circumstances, challenges, and the appropriate response will inevitably vary, these core principles will continue to guide U.S. policy in the months and years to come.