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Concerns Over William Burns Report
To The House International Relations Committee

About two days ago, I participated in a Pal Talk discussion with a group of fellow Libyans. The recent report by Ambassador Burns to the House International Relations Committee was the subject of debate. During the debate, it was suggested that those participating should send letters to US officials to express their concerns over the report. I was asked to compose a letter to be used by those who are unable to write in English. I have composed the enclosed letter to be used as is or as modified by those who wish tp tailor it to suit their aims.

Mohamed M. Bugaighis

_________________________________________________

Your name and address

March 20, 2005

The Honorable Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

Subject: Ambassador William Burns’ recent report on US-Libya relations

Since coming to power, the Libyan regime has a well documented history of supporting terrorism, total disregard for national and international laws, and has reneged on almost all of its obligations and agreements. Throughout the past 35 years, the United States had adopted a principled stand toward the Gadhafi regime, resulting in US sanctions against Libya. The Libyan people have appreciated the United States’ firm stand against the maverick Libyan dictator. During President Bush’s address to the nation on November 26, 2003, the President criticized previous US policies of appeasement of dictators, and blamed such policies on the scourge of terrorism, and pledged to end such policies.

However, Ambassador William Burns’ most recent report about the state of US-Libya relations to the Committee on International Relations, have left us with a sense of bewilderment and disappointment, as we question the seriousness of US commitment to democracy and human rights in Libya. When United States officials continue to send conflicting messages regarding Libya, such messages will only undermine US credibility in the eyes of Libyans and leads to erosion of trust in American stated policies. One can only describe Ambassador Burns’ most recent report to Congress as a typical example of appeasement to dictators.

While Gadhafi’s abandonment of his program of weapons of mass destruction and settlement of other outstanding issues with the US administration, are good developments in US-Libya relations, we must point out that those developments are not a result of a rational evaluation by the Libyan regime, but borne out of fear of incurring the wrath of the US government. Gadhafi uses violence as an instrument of control both inside and outside of Libya, and responds only to credible threats by the international community, particularly the United States.

To assume that Gadhafi’s recent concessions to the US and its western allies are a result of a genuine conversion by Gadhafi from a terrorist to a reasoned statesman is simply wishful thinking, and unrealistic to say the least. It is also noteworthy that whenever Gadhafi has offered concessions to the west, he invariably increased his internal oppression inside Libya, lest his people perceive his concessions to the west as a sign of weakness. We believe that a more credible gauge of Gadhafi’s behavior should be based on his behavior inside Libya, and not on his proclamations to the international community.

Sincerely,

Your name

_________________________________________________

Here are some important people to contact:

The Honorable President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Senator Richard G. Lugar, Chairman

Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Room 306
Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Congressman Henry J. Hyde
House International Relations Committee
Room 2110
Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Note: Also, you should send letters to your House and Senate Representatives. You can find their names and addresses by doing a search under Congress, the US House, and the US Senate. You call also call them to express your concerns, but remember to be courteous and polite.

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