U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham was one of four senators who traveled to Libya Thursday to meet with the new government there.
The senators met with members of Libya’s Transitional National Council. The group was the highest-profile American delegation to travel to the country since rebels overthrew longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.
Graham told media in the capitol of Tripoli that the former rebels were grateful for the international community’s help and want to repay it. “It is in our national interest to stay involved with the development of Libya,” Graham said, “This can be a showcase of what the Arab Spring is all about. But if you don’t watch it, it can go backward even here.”
Also on the trip were Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). They said they hope Libya will open itself up to foreign investment, especially for its oil and natural resources that were sanctioned by the U.S. while Gadhafi was in power. Graham admitted, however, that the current war needed to end before companies would arrive. Rebels are still fighting loyalists in the southern regions of the country.
The delegation stayed in the calm, coastal area of Tripoli. They toured Martyrs Square– formerly known as Green Square and the site of many Gadhafi speeches.
Graham is a member of the Senate Armed Forces committee.