By Callum Paton.
Tripoli, 18 December 2013:
Three rightwing Republican members of US Congress – Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and Steve King – made a lighting trip to Libya yesterday to assess the situation in the country. All three have been particularly forthright in their criticism of the US government following Ambassador Chris Steven’s killing at the US diplomatic offices in Benghazi in September 2012. They accuse the Obama administration of covering up facts in the case. Last week, Steve King said that the attack in Benghazi was ten times bigger than Watergate and the Iran-Contra scandals together.
While in Libya, the delegation visited the General National Congress and met with Congress President Nuri Abu Sahmain. With him and at other meetings they also discussed matters of cooperation between Libya and the United States particularly in areas of security and the the ways in which US economic and technical assistance might help with the building of national institutions.
A US official has told the Libya Herald that the three congress members also met with staff from the US diplomatic mission to Libya to discuss internal procedures at the embassy.
Steve King, US Congressman for Iowa, said during the visit that the congress members were confident and happy to see the building-up of the state and a country for all Libyans. According to the Libyan news agency LANA, he also said that the building upon foundations of stability would lead to a higher standard of living for all,
While meetings between the congress members and Libyan officials were cordial, the arrival of the three republicans, who have a reputation for far-right opinions and Islamophobic views, has been met by many with astonishment.