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Pentagon Chief Panetta Visits Libya

By: AP
By: AP
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says "the
torch of freedom" has passed to the Libyan people.

Making the first visit ever by a U.S. defense secretary to the
North African nation, Panetta pledged that the United States
will do all it can to help the country move toward democracy.

At a news conference with the new Libyan prime minister, the Pentagon chief said Libya has "a long and difficult transition" ahead, but voiced confidence that the country would realize "the dream of a
representative government."

Panetta and his Libyan hosts acknowledged the threat of Islamic
militants gaining ground amid the political uncertainty that's followed the ouster and death of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

They identified challenges for the government now forming,
including how to gain control of the militias that overthrew Gadhafi during an eight-month civil war.

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