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U.S. senator hails success of Libyan people, vows assistance

(Xinhua)

14:36, September 30, 2011

U.S. Senator John McCain (L) speaks during a press conference in Tripoli, Libya, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)

TRIPOLI, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Visiting U.S. Senator John McCain on Thursday stressed the role of the Libyan people in their fight against former leader Muammar Gaddafi, and vowed assistance in the country's preparation for elections.

McCain, among a Senate delegation from the United States which took part in NATO's widespread air campaigns that helped Libya's new rulers to topple Gaddafi, told reporters that the Libyan people "deserve all the credits for success" and "are responsible for its (Libya's) future."

The next few months will shape the future of a new Libya, and there is much to be done, McCain said. "The National Transitional Council (NTC) will soon announce a new cabinet, and it is important for this group to be inclusive ... to represent the aspirations of all Libyans, and prepare the country for free and fair elections," he said.

With the NTC seeking technical assistance for elections, "we must offer that assistance," said McCain, who has paid a visit to Benghazi, the cradle of anti-Gaddafi protests, in April.

However, the NTC has repeatedly put off the date of announcing an interim government, due to the dragging on of fighting in a couple of Gaddafi's remaining strongholds, as well as the reported divergence inside the fledging new leadership.

Having met with NTC leaders, military commanders and Libyans from all walks of life, McCain said the security situation in Tripoli since the NTC's control has been encouraging.

But the NTC has to work continuously to bring the many armed groups in the city and beyond it under the responsible control of the authorities, and to deal with the weapons and dangerous materials that Gaddafi had proliferated in this country, he said.

He meanwhile vowed U.S. help in caring the "many thousands" wounded in the domestic rift, as Libya is not able to provide sufficient medical care at the moment.

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