Tate Zeigler (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), the ranking Republican on the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has written Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraging the Obama Administration to make future financial assistance to Libya in the form of loans which should be repaid to the American taxpayer.
Graham noted that the United States has already frozen over $34 billion in Libyan assets and there are reports Muammar al-Qaddafi may have sheltered more than $200 billion.
“We should help the Libyan people, in an appropriate manner, with the understanding the American taxpayer will be reimbursed to the fullest extent possible,” said Graham. “Muammar al-Qaddafi’s death requires the Libyan people to begin anew by developing a representative government, cultivating civil society, and rebuilding their infrastructure. The United States can and should be a partner in helping Libya with these monumental tasks. However, we should do so in a way that is mindful of both Libya’s resources and our own difficult fiscal situation.”
“I truly believe one of the biggest mistakes we made in Iraq was providing all of the funds as grants, not loans,” said Graham. “I strongly encouraged the Bush Administration to adopt loans to the Iraqi government, but they refused.”
“Over time this decision helped create an environment where the Iraqis did not feel financial ownership of their own reconstruction,” said Graham. “It also made our operations in Iraq significantly more expensive than they needed to be. I hope our nation will not make the same mistake twice."