Vatican recognizes Libya's post-Gadhafi gov't

October 23, 2011 - 12:56 PM
Britain Libya Reax

Libyans react to the death of Moammar Gadhafi outside the Libyan Embassy in London, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has announced that it considers Libya's interim government the legitimate rulers of the country now that Moammar Gadhafi has been killed.

The Vatican press office said in a statement Thursday that Gadhafi's death ended a "long and tragic" fight to crush a "cruel and oppressive regime."

It says that for several weeks now Vatican officials have had contact with members of the National Transitional Council in Rome at the Libyan embassy to the Holy See and in New York at the U.N. General Assembly.

It says that while it hadn't gone through a formal diplomatic recognition of the former rebel movement, "the Holy See considers it the legitimate representation of the Libyan people, conforming to international law."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

LONDON (AP) — World leaders have seized upon the death of former Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi as an opportunity to turn the page on four decades of authoritarian rule.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the leading players in the campaign against Gadhafi, said Thursday that Gadhafi's demise is a milestone in Libya's battle to free itself from dictatorship.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that "people in Libya today have an even greater chance, after this news, of building themselves a strong and democratic future."

And while Libyan exiles in Britain also celebrated the news, there was an undercurrent of anxiety about the future.

Outside the Libyan Embassy in London, 37-year-old Amani Deghayes said she hoped "there will be real democracy, not another crazy regime."