Former Republican Congressman Curt Weldon will deliver a straightforward message to Muammar Qaddafi when he meets with the Libyan leader today: Step down. The politician from Pennsylvania, who led a congressional delegation to Libya in 2004 after Qaddafi shuttered his nuclear weapons program, says he's traveling to Libya on an unofficial diplomatic mission, at the invitation of Qaddafi's chief of staff.
What's Weldon's plan? In a New York Times op-ed explaining the trip, Weldon said he will urge Qaddafi to relinquish power and honor a U.N.-monitored ceasefire, arguing that he's met Qaddafi "enough times to know that it will be very hard to simply bomb him into submission." He also wants U.N. and coalition representatives to meet with Libya's "pragmatic and reform-minded" leaders and schedule elections for a new president and legislature. Weldon thinks Qaddafi's son, Saif, could play a "constructive role" in developing a new Libyan government and constitution, despite his aggressive stance toward the rebels during the uprising. In an interview with the BBC yesterday, Saif said his father had no intention of leaving Libya or ceding power.