Africa

In quotes: Reaction as rebels reach Tripoli

Foreign governments were quick to react to the fast-unfolding events in the Libyan capital Tripoli, as rebels swept into the city centre on Sunday night. Below are quotes from a number of leaders.

US President Barack Obama

The situation is still very fluid. There remains a degree of uncertainty and there are still regime elements who pose a threat. But this much is clear: The Gaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.

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Media captionBarack Obama: "The Gaddafi regime is coming to an end"

Over the last several days, the situation in Libya has reached a tipping point as the opposition increased its co-ordination from east to west, took town after town, and the people of Tripoli rose up to claim their freedom.

For over four decades, the Libyan people have lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights. Now, the celebrations that we've seen in the streets of Libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator. I want to emphasise that this is not over yet. As the regime collapses, there is still fierce fighting in some areas, and we have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting.

Although it's clear that Gaddafi's rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.

As we move forward from this pivotal phase, the opposition should continue to take important steps to bring about a transition that is peaceful, inclusive and just. As the leadership of the [National Transitional Council] has made clear, the rights of all Libyans must be respected. True justice will not come from reprisals and violence; it will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

The dramatic scenes we are witnessing in Libya, Tripoli, are testimony to the courage and determination of the Libyan people to seek a free and democratic future.

It is crucial now for the conflict to end with no further loss of life and retribution.

I welcome the assurances given by the chairman of the National Transitional Council, Mr Mustafa Abdul Jalil, that extreme care would be taken to protect people and public institutions and to maintain law and order. I call on Colonel Gaddafi's forces to cease violence immediately and make way for a smooth transition. The international community will continue to do its part to protect civilians from harm.

Watch Ban Ki-moon's statement here

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi

The Arab League offers its full solidarity with the ongoing efforts under the leadership of the National Transitional Council (NTC) to protect the capabilities of the Libyan people.

This is a historic moment that marks a milestone in the history of the Libyan people. We hope the council's efforts are successful in leading the new phase and protecting the independence, sovereignty and integrity of Libyan lands.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron

The latest information is that the vast majority of Tripoli is now controlled by free Libyan fighters, although fighting continues - and some of it is extremely fierce. We have no confirmation of Gaddafi's whereabouts, but at least two of Gaddafi's sons have been detained. His regime is falling apart and in full retreat.

Gaddafi must stop fighting, without conditions - and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control Libya. As for his future, that should be a decision for [NTC] Chairman [Mustafa Abdul] Jalil and the new Libyan authorities.

The situation in Tripoli is clearly very fluid today and there can be no complacency. Our task now is to do all we can to support the will of the Libyan people, which is for an effective transition to a free, democratic and inclusive Libya. This will be a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned process with broad international support co-ordinated by the UN - and I am in close contact with partners from Nato, the Arab League and with Chairman Jalil himself.

Office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy

As battlefield developments and defections from his camp confirm that Gaddafi's end is inevitable and close, the president condemns Col Gaddafi's irresponsible and desperate calls for the combat to continue.

The president calls on those forces which are still loyal to the regime to turn away from the criminal and cynical blindness of their leader, to cease fire, put down their arms and put themselves at the disposal of the legitimate Libyan authorities.

As a new phase of transition is to begin, the president invites all Libyans to take part in a spirit of reconciliation and unity, with the aim of laying the foundations of new and democratic Libya, where everyone's rights are respected and the Libyan people as a whole and each of its composing parts feel respected.

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

The Gaddafi regime is clearly crumbling. The sooner Gaddafi realises that he cannot win the battle against his own people, the better - so that the Libyan people can be spared further bloodshed and suffering.

The Libyan people have suffered tremendously under Gaddafi's rule for over four decades. Now they have a chance for a new beginning. Now is the time for all threats against civilians to stop, as the United Nations Security Council demanded. Now is the time to create a new Libya - a state based on freedom, not fear; democracy, not dictatorship; the will of the many, not the whims of a few. That transition must come peacefully. It must come now. And it must be led and defined by the Libyan people.

Nato is ready to work with the Libyan people and with the National Transitional Council, which holds a great responsibility. They must make sure that the transition is smooth and inclusive, that the country stays united, and that the future is founded on reconciliation and respect for human rights. Gaddafi's remaining allies and forces also have a great responsibility. It is time to end their careers of violence. The world is watching them. This is their opportunity to side with the Libyan people and choose the right side of history.

Watch Anders Fogh Rasmussen's statement here

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr

It pleases me at this historical occasion to announce that Egypt recognises the new regime in Libya and the National Transitional Council that represents it.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

We ask Colonel Gaddafi to put an end to every pointless resistance and to save, in this way, his people from further suffering.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

We continue to call on Colonel Gaddafi to get out of the way and of course we believe he should face the international charges that are against him.

We will as a nation continue to support the people of Libya on what we want to see as a journey to peace and democracy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Today is the day when we see the beginning of the breakdown of former Libyan leader Gaddafi's regime, his power begins to crumble. It is very important that we make sure to prevent further bloodshed.

It is good that the [Libya] Contact Group will meet in Paris to co-ordinate the first steps. We need to talk with future leaders, the transitional council of rebels, we have to talk about what this society is going to look like.

The fact is that too many innocent people have lost their lives in the fighting and we have to prevent that that situation continues, meaning we have to quickly create political structures fast to enable a transition to a peaceful, free and democratic society because Libyans have suffered too much.

Russian foreign ministry

The dramatic turn of events in the Libyan conflict bears witness, by all signs, to a shift of power into the hands of the rebels very soon. We hope that this will bring an end to the drawn-out bloodshed between Libyans, which has brought so much misfortune and suffering to the population of the country.

Chinese foreign ministry

China respects the Libyan people's choice and hopes Libya will return to stability soon and the people will lead a normal life.

South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

The South African government would like to refute and dispel the rumours and claims that it has sent planes to Libya to fly some individuals into some undisclosed location or to South Africa.

All along we have been steadfastly maintaining that the future of Libya should be decided by the Libyans themselves.

Kenyan Assistant Foreign Minister Richard Onyonka

Kenyans have seen Colonel Gaddafi as someone who has done very positive things - especially for the liberation movement in Africa. He played a big role in the struggle against apartheid and colonialism.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Today we are seeing images of how the democratic European governments - well some of them are (democratic) - are practically demolishing Tripoli with their bombs and the supposedly democratic government of the United States, because they feel like it.

Today they dropped I don't know how many bombs and they are dropping them indiscriminately and openly... over schools, hospitals, houses, businesses, factories, farms. And we call on God to bring peace of the Libyan people and the people of the world.