An update from Curt Weldon
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Good Things Are Happening In The World!!
December 4, 2008
I wanted to share an American Good News Story with you!!!
Below please find a photo of Dr. Saif Ghadaffi and me after our dinner meeting in Houston, Texas last week. Saif, who earned a PhD. from the London School of Economics, was on his first trip to the United States. At the beginning of his trip he had a private meeting with Sec Rice at the State Department, the day after President Bush telephoned Saif’s father Col Moammar Ghadaffi in Tripoli. That call was the first ever by a US President to Ghadaffi and completed the full normalization of relations between the US and Libya. Normalization of US – Libya relations had been absent for 40 years.
Saif and I knew each other from our work together on the International Energy Advisory Council, of which I served as Honorary Chair with M. A. Pathan of Tata Industries in India. In 2003 Saif invited me to meet with him in London and have dinner to discuss his father’s intent to give up all weapons of mass destruction, to renounce terrorism and to pursue a friendship with the United States. Because of Saif’s invitation, I led the 1st US Congressional Delegation into Libya in January 2004. My Delegation met with Col Ghadaffi for almost 3 hours resulting in his invitation to me to return in March to speak to the entire Libyan population at the Annual Great Jamahiriya. (The only US equivalent of the Jamahiriya would be the State of the Union Speech by the President with the entire government in attendance and broadcast live throughout the nation). I told Col Ghadaffi that I would return and speak but would bring a good friend with me – Senator Joe Biden. Joe accepted my Invitation and spoke on the second day of the Great Jamahiriya. On my 3rd trip to Libya Saif and I Co-Chaired the 1st Multi-National Conference in Tripoli sponsored by the Oceans Security Initiative (OSI) which was attended by 300 representatives from over 30 nations.
Saif and I had already Co-Chaired an earlier Conference by Satellite feed between our two nations. Saif also organized and Chairs the Ghadaffi Foundation. Not only is he the individual who nudged his father into cooperating with the US and the West in renouncing terrorism and eliminating all weapons of mass destruction, but Saif has also been a champion of human rights and individual dignity. Saif was the leading force to resolve the Lockerbie crisis and compensate families of the victims. Saif twice stopped the planned execution of 6 Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian Doctor who had been improperly sentenced to death in Libya. Ultimately, after significant leadership within Libya, it was Saif (not the French President & his wife) who obtained the freedom of the 6 nurses and the Doctor allowing them to return to their homelands. Through the Foundation Saif has also worked to eliminate Land-Mines, has lead the effort against illegal drug trafficking and has established humanitarian relief programs in underdeveloped countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Most recently, it was Saif who quietly led the resolution of the final claims against Libya by the families of the victims of other terrorist acts worldwide.
Libya is a success story for the United States - I was happy to play a small role in support of our President. It proves the point of my work in Congress for 20 years as Vice Chairman of our two National Security Committees. America always needs to have the strongest military in the World. But, in the end, we must always work to achieve peace through dialogue and diplomacy. We accomplished exactly that with Libya - and today Libya is an example to every country in the World, whether in the Middle East, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, or any other region.
I am proud to call Saif Ghadaffi my friend. To the left is the photo of my first meeting with Saif in London among other photos I have included; my first meeting with his father (he always meets in tents) and the photo of me getting Ghadaffi to put on an American Baseball Hat (only such picture in the World) to show his new friendship with the United States. Also, a photo of a US Flag being pinned to Ghadaffi’s Lapel, the Great Jamahiryia Speech, and Ghadaffi signing my Speech in satisfaction. And finally, Joe Biden and I meeting with Libya Foreign Affairs Chairman Suleiman Shahumi.