Entries in Curt Weldon (2)


Former Congressman Still Waiting in Libya for Meeting with Gadhafi

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Former Republican Congressman Curt Weldon says he's in Libya to convince Col. Moammar Gadhafi to step down from power for the good of the Libyan people.

Weldon, who claims he was invited by Gadhafi's chief of staff, has been in Tripoli for two days but still hasn't met with the Libyan strongman, who's in hiding while his troops are involved with rebels in a low-level war for control of the country.

The unusual visit was the former Pennsylvania's lawmaker's idea, adding, "No one's paying me to be here.  I'm here because I want to do something positive.  And I want to help my government get out of what is a very difficult situation."

At the U.S. State Department, press secretary Mark Toner told reporters, "I don't know if it is helpful or unhelpful.  He is not representing the U.S. government."

Weldon was a ten-term congressman who traveled to Libya in 2004 to help build relations between Washington and Tripoli.  He was also the subject of a FBI corruption probe but was never charged.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Keeps Distance from Former Congressman in Tripoli

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Obama administration took pains Wednesday to distance itself from a trip to Tripoli by former Congressman Curt Weldon, who announced in a New York Times op-ed piece Wednesday morning that he was there to convince Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down.

“This is, as we understand it, a personal visit, and he's in no way acting on behalf of the United States government,” spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

Toner said that Weldon had consulted with the State Department before his trip, but made clear the administration doesn’t find his trip particularly helpful.

“I'm aware of the plan that he put forward. He does not represent the U.S. government. He's not carrying any plan from the U.S. government, so that in and of itself is telling,” he said.

In his op-ed, Weldon said he would seek a meeting with Col. Gadhafi in order to “persuade him to step aside.”

Weldon described a three-point plan to end the conflict, including face-to-face discussions with Gadhafi to “persuade him to leave, as my delegation hopes to do.”

“I’ve met him enough times to know that it will be very hard to simply bomb him into submission,” Weldon wrote.

The other elements of his plan call for a United Nations-monitored cease-fire, with Gadhafi’s forces withdrawing from cities and rebels promising not to advance further.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was not asked about Rep. Weldon’s visit, described similar demands during a press conference with her Italian counterpart.

Clinton reiterated a call for Gadhafi to step down and said there must be a ceasefire that includes government forces withdrawing from the cities they presently occupy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio