Congressman Peter Welch returned this week from a Congressional oversight trip to Libya and Egypt. North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley spoke with Vermont’s at-large Democratic representative about the reason for, and his assessment of, the trip.
Four members of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations spent the Veterans Day weekend in Libya and Egypt. In Libya, the group, which included Vermont’s Peter Welch, assessed security issues that were exposed in the aftermath of the attacks on the Benghazi mission in 2012. Congressman Welch reports that while they did not travel to the Benghazi site, they did tour the embassy in Tripoli.
Welch sees starkly different possible futures for the two countries. Libya, he believes, has a chance for a decent future.
Congressman Welch believes the U.S. should be supportive of those seeking democratic stability and economic reform, but cannot micro-manage the internal dynamics of the North African countries.
The Congressional delegation met with the Libyan Deputy Prime Minister, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and the U.S. Ambassador in Cairo. Most of the delegation’s time in Egypt, according to Welch, was spent in the Sinai Peninsula meeting with members of the Multinational Force of Observers.
This was Congressman Welch’s first trip to southern Sinai and Libya. He was accompanied by Subcommittee chair Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Democrat Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts and Republican Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.