Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi led a Congressional delegation to Libya today with Congressman George Miller of California, Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, and Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota. The delegation met with Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib, Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil and Select Members of the Transitional National Council, and civil society leaders, including women advocates and students who will play a critical role in defining Libya's future.
Following official meetings, the Members of Congress held a press conference. Below are Leader Pelosi's opening remarks and closing statement:
Leader Pelosi's Opening Remarks:
"Good afternoon. We thank God for the opportunity we have had to come to Libya to congratulate the leaders of the government here, to wish them well in the transition as they write a Constitution, as they move toward democratic elections to form a government for the future.
"As House Democratic Leader, I have the privilege of being part of a delegation to bring appreciation for the democracy that is being established, congratulations on the work that has been done, and an offer of help in any way that we can.
"Our very distinguished delegation -- each of them will introduce themselves and give their expression of interest in what is happening in Libya.
"I speak for all of us when I say that it's an honor to be here. Our country takes great pride in the role that we played. We're proud of the leadership of our President for his leadership and participating in the freedom of Libya. We support him, our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, our distinguished Ambassador, our distinguished Chargé for the connections that they have and the participation they had in democracy in Libya.
"Of special interest to us is the role that women and young people have played, are playing, and hopefully will play in the brilliant new democracy in Libya. We just finished a lively discussion with some young people, some young women, young women and men, to hear their aspirations for the future. Many of them were part of the fight for freedom and democracy. They must also be part of forming that democracy.
"Since I am speaking of youth, I want to yield to the youngest Member of our delegation, our newest Member of Congress in this delegation, Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota. He is the first Muslim American ever elected to the Congress of the United States, and he is a great leader."
Leader Pelosi's Closing Statement:
"God has blessed Libya with the courage of her people, with the natural resources to have a wealth to educate those people and make a good life for them. And again, with youth it can be about the vitality of the future and the women who will lead the way. I understand that it's a minimum of 20 percent, which would be a good start, but hopefully it will be more than 20 percent after the results of the election are in.
"But just as with anything else, you can't win unless you run. It's not for the faint of heart, and I encourage women, young women to support each other to make sure that in every way Libya has been a model in terms of its courage and determining its future. And now it has to do it with the voices of the future, your women and young people."