Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada at an emergency meeting on Libya

Paris, France
19 March 2011

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following remarks at an emergency meeting on Libya:

“First, I should like to thank President Sarkozy for convening this important and historic meeting.

“We have gathered here, leaders and representatives from North America and Europe, and the Arab League, because the embattled people of Libya have challenged us.

“Do we believe in freedom, or do we just say we believe in freedom?

“Earlier this week, the UN Security Council gave its answer.

“On Thursday, it passed a resolution authorizing additional sanctions and a no-fly zone to prevent the regime from bombing its own citizens.

“To enforce this resolution, Canadian aircraft and HMCS Charlottetown have joined an international force assembling in the region.

“Faced with the threat of military action, the regime proclaimed a ceasefire.

“But the ceasefire was a lie, an obvious lie from the beginning.  The facts on the ground are changing in the opposite direction.

“Canada has said, and leaders have agreed, that we must act urgently.

“We must help the Libyan people, help them now, or the threat to them and to the stability of the whole region will only increase.

“We must also ensure humanitarian needs are met, and that the humanitarian appeal is fully subscribed.

“Finally, we should all acknowledge that ultimately, only the Libyan people can or should decide their future.

“But we all have a mutual interest in their peaceful transition to a better future.”