March 16, 2012 (Federal Information & News Dispatch) -- Tunis, Tunisia - Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and a Congressional delegation to Tunisia today, where the Members of Congress met with high–ranking government officials, including Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.
"It was a privilege to meet with the Prime Minister - a person who has made a personal sacrifice for freedom in Tunisia, a person who was part of the new leadership of this great country," Leader Pelosi said. "We came here, as Members of Congress, to thank the people of Tunisia for their courage, congratulate them on their democracy, learn from them, and to volunteer our help as to how they thought we could work together. It is a joy to behold this fresh start in Tunisia - with young people, with women, with new ideas."
The delegation also met with Dr. Mustapha Ben Jaafar, Speaker of the Constituent Assembly.
"Our Congressional delegation has just completed a very productive meeting with His Excellency, the Speaker," Leader Pelosi said. "The Speaker honored us with an explanation of the development of the Constitution and how it was moving forward. We were also honored to be welcomed by the Vice Speaker and hear the role that women are playing in the development of this new democracy in Tunisia."
Additionally, the delegation held discussions with Tunisian and American non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including representatives from the National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute and International Federation of Electoral Systems.
The Members of Congress also visited the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, where they laid a wreath in remembrance of fallen soldiers.
Prior to visiting Tunisia, the Members of Congress were in Egypt to meet with high-ranking government officials, including Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, People's Assembly Speaker Mohamed Sa'ad Al-Katatny and Deputy Foreign Minister Wafaa Bassim, as well as civil society and religious minority leaders.
In addition to Leader Pelosi, other Members of the Congressional Delegation are: Congressman George Miller of California, Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, and Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota.