Press Availability
William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary
Tripoli, Libya
July 14, 2012

Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be in Tripoli. And it’s a pleasure to meet again with the Prime Minister, and with other Libyan leaders at this extraordinary moment.

One week after historic and successful elections, less than a year after a remarkable revolution led to Libya’s liberation, this is a moment in which Libyans can take great pride. It is a moment filled with daunting challenges, which no one should underestimate. But it is also a moment filled with promise.

Just as we were during the revolution, the United States will be a reliable long-term partner for Libya in the transition period which lies ahead. The Libyan people have already demonstrated uncommon courage in their pursuit of the dignity, freedom and opportunity they so richly deserve. And after suffering for decades under the region’s longest-ruling dictator, the people of Libya are now giving new hope to the entire region.

Let me add a few brief points.

First, Libya has already come a long way in a short time. Libya’s leadership has ably guided the country through a complicated period in the country’s history. We congratulate the Libyan people on the July 7 elections, a critical milestone, and the first step towards building lasting democratic institutions. But we recognize that much work lies ahead. The next important step will be ensuring a smooth transition to the elected Congress, and the next cabinet.

Second, we have worked closely with the UN Support Mission to Libya and other international partners to provide support for the priorities and needs of a changing Libya. We provided technical assistance to the High National Elections Commission and to Libyan non-governmental organizations that helped educate the public about the election process. We will continue to support efforts to strengthen Libya’s increasingly vibrant civil society and media.

We recognize that enhancing educational opportunities, including studying overseas and English-language training, are a top priority. We launched the U.S.-Libya Higher Education Task Force earlier this spring, which will enable our two governments to jointly identify and support priorities for cooperation in higher education. And recognizing the important contribution so many brave men and women made to Libya’s revolution, the United States will also continue to support improved care for Libya’s war-wounded, including by enhancing rehabilitation services.

Finally, it is deeply in the interest of both Libya and the United States to cooperate on addressing threats to Libya’s security. A stable, prosperous future for Libya will rest on achieving progress on security, including Libya’s ability to secure its borders, control weapons, and prevent any groups from undermining the progress made thus far.

A long road lies ahead, but the Libyan people should be very proud of what they have accomplished. Libyans can count on continued American support in the months and years ahead. We were proud partners during the revolution. And we will be proud and committed partners as Libyans continue the hard work of building the secure, democratic, and prosperous state for which they have fought so long, and sacrificed so much.

Thank you.