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After Gaddafi, France Calls for Democratic Transition in Libya

Publié le October 26, 2011
Reply by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly (excerpts)
Paris, October 25, 2011

The Libyan people are free at last after 42 years of terrible dictatorship. France, as you said, played her full part in this liberation movement and I believe that for all of us here, on many benches in this Assembly, this should be a source of pride.

I hear it said that we’ve opened Pandora’s box.

Should we have gone on supporting the dictatorships? Should we have gone on supporting Gaddafi? Should we have gone on supporting Ben Ali? Should we have gone on supporting Mubarak? Should we today go on supporting Bashar al-Assad?

The French Foreign Ministry, at President Sarkozy’s behest, adopted a clear policy.

Today, we’ve got to have confidence in the Libyan people. And, for my part, I’m not resigning myself to thinking that the Arab peoples are doomed to having to choose between dictatorship and radical Islamist regimes. There are other possible futures and I have confidence in the Libyan people to vigilantly defend their fundamental rights.

This doesn’t release us from our responsibility to be vigilant ourselves and reiterate our red lines, i.e. respect the principles upheld by the United Nations itself: democratic changeover of power, freedom of expression, respect for minorities – including religious minorities – and equal rights and equality for women.

(…) I think that we mustn’t cling on to fear but instead combine vigilance with trust./.

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