Libya’s top envoy to Seoul has said the first anniversary of his country’s revolt that ousted Moammar Gadhafi “represents an important historical turning point in the life of the Libyan People, Middle East and the world.”
Libyan Charge d’Affaires Mohamed Elhamdi led the celebrations in Seoul one year since the “glorious revolution.”
“The revolution of 17th February carried the implications of justice, freedom, democracy and peace not only to Libyan people but to humanity in general,” he said.
Libyan Charge d’ Affaires Mohamed Elhamdi (center) cuts a cake with other diplomats to celebrate the first anniversary of the Libyan revolution. (Kirsty Taylor/The Korea Herald)
Libya’s National Transitional Council issued a draft constitution and election law on Feb. 17, 2011, with the first major anti-Gadhafi demonstration held in Benghazi on that day. But it took eight more months until the country’s dictator was overthrown. Following NATO intervention, Gadhafi was finally killed in Sirte on Oct. 20, ending his more than 40-year rule of the North African country.
“(The revolution) has moved Libya from isolation and dictatorship to freedom and the prospects of prosperity and progress,” said Elhamdi.
“While we celebrate this occasion we recall the pure souls of the righteous martyrs who have sacrificed for the freedom enjoyed by the Libyan people today, wishing a speedy recovery to the wounded and the return of the missing people to their families.”
Celebrations took place across Libya to mark the anniversary. However, the interim government now dealing with disputes between rival militias of former rebel fighters, who are still armed and threatening the country’s stability.
Elhamdi pledged that Libya would continue its friendly relationship with Korea and respect all agreements and conventions it had previously signed with the country. He also thanked the South Korean government and companies for supporting the reconstruction of Libya.
“I wish further expansion and progress of the relationship between our two friendly nations in various fields,” he added at the celebratory reception Wednesday.
Among the guests were the Foreign Ministry’s director general for Africa and Middle Eastern affairs, Song Woong-yeob, along with international diplomats and businesspeople.
Korean businesses are looking to help reconstruction efforts in the oil-rich country. And a delegation of Libyan government officials and executives visited Korea in November to discuss cooperation in sectors including communications, electricity, ports, steel, food and auto parts.