Dr. Esam Omeish, the U.S.-based director of the Libyan Emergency Task Force that was set up during the revolution, briefed Mr. Stevens before he commenced his diplomatic duties in Tripoli and met him again on a visit to Libya less than two weeks ago.
“To me his death is shocking on so many levels,” he added.
Passionate about Libya
It was his role as the U.S. envoy to the rebels, from March to November of last year, that Mr. Stevens seemed to relish the most.
He recalled that assignment with passion in remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his confirmation hearing in March.
“It was a time of great excitement as the Libyan people first experienced freedom,” he said. “But it was also a time of significant trepidation for what might come next.”
He cited the need to consolidate control over militias as one of the many challenges the new government in Tripoli had to deal with.
“It is clearly in the U.S. interest to see Libya become a stable and prosperous democracy. … It would also serve as a powerful example to others in the region who are struggling to achieve their own democratic aspirations,” he added.
He also noted the “tremendous goodwill” for the United States in Libya.
“Libyans recognize the key role the United States played in building international support for their uprising against Gadhafi. I saw this gratitude frequently over the months I served in Benghazi — from our engagements with the revolution’s leadership to our early work with civil society and new media organizations,” he added.
Remorse and sorrowView Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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