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Mark Kirk in Libya to Greet New Regime

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The junior senator from Illinois becomes one of the first high ranking US officials to greet the new government. (Published Thursday, Sep 29, 2011)

    Illinois Senator Mark Kirk became one of the first American politicians to greet the new Libyan regime, Thursday, when he traveled to the recently liberated country with a contingent of Republicans led by Senator John McCain.

    Lindsey Graham of South Carolina  and Marco Rubio from Florida also went along with the most high-profile delegation since Colonel Ghaddafi was depose.

    The group met with the National Transitional Council's Mustafa Abdul-Jalil and other rebel leaders.

    Largely shrouded in secrecy, the trip to Tripoli was meant to give credence to the new government in front of a world audience.

    "I've dreamed of returning to a liberated capital of a free Libya ever since I visited Benghazi in April and our visit to Tripoli today has been exhilarating and hopeful," McCain said (after Kirk corrected him from saying he was actually in Iraq.)

    McCain said the Libyan rebellion should serve as an inspiration for people in other countries who live under the foot of harsh governments and he specifically called out Iran, Syria, China and Russia.

    "The people of Libya today are inspiring the people in Tehran, in Damascus and even in Beijing and Moscow," he said. "They continue to inspire the world and let people know that even the worst dictators can be overthrown and be replaced by freedom and democracy."

    The senators talked about what the liberation means for the world's economy, and why businesses should start to come back to the country.

    "As oil markets see Libya coming online it will put downward pressure on the price of gasoline around the world and that will reduce what has been the growing chances of a world wide recession," Kirk said.

     

    Kirk's inclusion on the trip further burnishes his credentials as a foreign policy expert, an attribute on which he ran for national office.