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Hearing of the House Committee on International Relations on WMDs, Terrorism, Human Rights, and the Future of the US - Libyan Relations

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Federal News Service

HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

SUBJECT: WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, TERRORISM, HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE FUTURE OF U.S.-LIBYAN RELATIONS

CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE HENRY HYDE (R-IL)

LOCATION: 2172 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.

WITNESSES: WILLIAM BURNS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NEAR EASTERN AFFAIRS; PAULA DESUTTER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR VERIFICATION AND COMPLIANCE; PATRICK CLAWSON, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY; RAY TAKEYH, NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY; KRISTA RIDDLEY, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

BODY:
REP. HYDE: This morning, the Committee convenes to discuss "Weapons of Mass Destruction, Terrorism, Human Rights and the Future of U.S.-Libyan Relations."

On December 19, 2003, Libya's leader took a bold and historic step in voluntarily agreeing to end his nuclear and chemical weapons programs, and to permit on-site inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The United States is now working in close partnership with these agencies and the United Kingdom to help the government of Libya to carry out these commitments.

Supported by large majorities in this Congress, the policies of the president pertaining to Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere have sent the strongest possible message. America and her allies will respond decisively to terrorism and threats to our people and our way of life. Libya's recent efforts to shed its pariah status and to turn over its weapons of mass destruction programs is the first sign that our message is being heard. It now is our hope that Libya's turnabout will resonate with other rogue nations and terrorist states, who see our fierce determination and are desperate to get out of the way.

As British Prime Minister Tony Blair has noted, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are two sides of the same coin. By turning over its WMD capability, Libya is helping us win the war on terrorism. To this end, and together with the United Kingdom and other like-minded states, the United States is forging new proliferation strategies and taking the preemptive measures needed to shut down the clandestine networks that supply these groups with weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them.

Clearly, the world will be a safer place once Libya's commitments have been fulfilled, and other nations will realize, as did Colonel Qadhafi, that these weapons bring little in the way of security or international prestige. The challenge now is to ensure that he makes good on his promise so that we can respond accordingly, so that other nations can see the benefits of change.

-BREAK OF TRANSCRIPT-

REP. ELTON GALLEGLY (R-CA): Mr. Chairman, I will try to be very brief, and I thank you for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, this morning Mr. Lantos, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen and I met with a group of family members of the victims of Pan Am 103. At the meeting, I was given a document by family members that I would like to submit to the record of this hearing. The document lists the actions that need to be taken by the U.S. government pursuant to the settlement agreement between the U.S. and Libya. Several of the family members brought to my attention that there is an April 24th deadline for these actions to be taken. If our government is not able to meet the April 24 deadline, the family members requested-and I support this request-that the United States government ensure that that deadline-the deadline for the actions be extended beyond April 24th. And I would ask that this document be made, through unanimous consent, a record of this hearing.

REP. HYDE: Without objection, it will be made a part of the record at this point in the record.

REP. GALLEGLY: And I would just like to close, Mr. Chairman, by saying that I was a member that visited Libya last month and met with Muammar Qadhafi. It was very clear to me that Mr. Qadhafi is not taking this action because of his love for the West or love for the United States. I firmly believe his action is out of fear that he does not want to become another Saddam Hussein or end up like Saddam Hussein.

While the words have been very encouraging for world peace, peace in the region, actions always speak much larger-or louder than words. And I would just ask my colleagues, as we methodically go through this process that we remember the words of Ronald Reagan, "Trust, but verify."

I yield back.

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