(No. 158 - June 9, 2011 - 6:50 p.m. ET) The Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement after attending the third meeting of the Contact Group on Libya. Associate Minister Fantino attended the meeting on behalf of John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister. The Contact Group is an organization of like-minded nations that is helping to provide leadership and coordinate international efforts with regard to the future of Libya.
"Today’s meeting was another important step toward building the future of a post-Qadhafi Libya. The brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces have made an important contribution toward the freedom of the Libyan people from the Qadhafi regime, and Canadian operations have helped to protect civilians and to save thousands of innocent lives.
"Canada strongly agrees with the Contact Group that consensus is growing around the world that the time has come to open a new chapter in Libya’s history, with a strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya.
"The Qadhafi regime must go, and the use of force against civilians by Qadhafi and his forces must cease immediately and unconditionally.
"Together with our international allies, we stand in solidarity with the Libyan people.
"Through its actions, the Qadhafi regime has demonstrated that it has no legitimacy whatsoever.
"Through meetings like those of the Contact Group on Libya, the international community is demonstrating its common will and purpose to rid Libya of the Qadhafi regime, and its willingness to press for a political solution to the conflict and to build a brighter future for the people of Libya. Canada will continue to play a key role in that future."
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