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SFRC Chairman Menendez Opening Statement at Nominations Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)
, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today delivered the following opening remarks at this morning’s full Committee hearing to consider the nominations of Ms. Lisa A. Carty to be Representative of the United States of America on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador, and to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations; Mr. Steven C. Bondy, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Bahrain; and Ms. Mallory A. Stewart to be Assistant Secretary of State (Verification and Compliance):

Find a copy of Chairman Menendez’s full remarks as delivered below.

“We are here today to consider nominations for three important positions: Ms. Mallory Stewart to be Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance (AVC), Ms. Lisa Carty to be U.S. Representative on the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and Alternative Representative to the UN General Assembly; and Mr. Steven Bondy, to be Ambassador to Bahrain.

Congratulations on your nominations. We appreciate your willingness and that of your families to serve. Your families are certainly part of the sacrifice on behalf of the nation so we appreciate them as well.  

Ms. Stewart, the AVC bureau is critical in the State Department and to our national security, leading U.S. diplomatic efforts to confront our adversaries about their most dangerous weapons. 

I’m pleased to see you bring a wealth of experience to this important role, including from your current service on the National Security Council as the Senior Director for arms control and non-proliferation and your years in the State Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the AVC Bureau working on these issues. 

If confirmed, you will have to address a series of challenges from the very start, including a weakened AVC Bureau—the result of years of neglect under the previous administration—at the exact moment we are entering a more dangerous world.

The head of our nuclear forces, Navy Admiral Charles Richard, recently called China’s explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces ‘breathtaking.’ Russia continues to modernize its shorter-range non-strategic weapons and has shown a willingness to use chemical weapons against its own citizens. Iran is moving closer to having enough material for a nuclear weapon.

I’m concerned that the bureau is unprepared for this more dangerous world and that it lacks the resources and staff it needs to effectively negotiate with our strategic rivals. I trust that, if confirmed, you will use your knowledge and skills to prioritize strengthening AVC and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how to address the challenges ahead.

Ms. Carty, congratulations on your nomination.  It is reassuring that President Biden has nominated you—a consummate professional with decades of experience working with the United Nations and the Department of State—to this role to help address the economic, humanitarian, and social challenges facing the globe. 

Under President Trump, the United States largely abdicated a leadership role at the United Nations. From attempting to pull out of the World Health Organization in the middle of a global pandemic to undermining international protections for women, girls and LGBTI individuals, to defunding or cutting funding to key agencies, we sent the signal that the United States would no longer lead, ceding space and influence to China and Russia.

If confirmed, you will join a new team committed to repair what has been undermined, including support for human rights, democracy, and addressing the metastasizing humanitarian crises around the world, including the most recent one in Afghanistan after the rapid collapse of the Ghani government and Taliban takeover. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how critical agency initiatives—like those promoting the equal rights of women and girls—can continue in Afghanistan.

And, if confirmed, I trust that you will draw on your decades of relevant experience to effectively engage within and work to strengthen the UN system. 

Mr. Bondy, welcome to the Committee. I’m pleased to see such an experienced diplomat (and Livingston, New Jersey native) nominated for a critical Gulf post. I’m not surprised that someone from the Garden State has merited a dozen State Department Awards, a Service Commendation Award from the Department of Defense, and a Presidential Rank Award, and speaks five languages.

I would also like to note that I am not the only one to praise your service. Retired General Votel, former commander of CENTCOM, who served with you, has noted you are ‘extraordinarily well qualified’ for this position, and called you an ‘effective collaborator who is deeply respected across the military and within the interagency.’

I also have a statement from Ambassador Hugo Llorens praising your service and record. Without objection, I move to enter those statements into the record.

U.S.-Bahrain ties are long-standing. As the host to the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, Bahrain is an essential U.S. partner in our shared efforts to maintain stability and security in the Arabian Gulf. As the region continues to face instability and threats, most concerning from Iran, it is critical that we have a skilled diplomat in place to strengthen and maintain our partnership.

Bahrain has also led the charge for more regional diplomacy as an original signatory to the Abraham Accords, and I have full confidence you will work to further their political, economic, and cultural normalization with Israel.

Your extensive experience in the Middle East, including time spent as the Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs in Bahrain and more recently as the Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’affairs in Abu Dhabi will certainly serve you well and the country well in navigating our embassy in Manama.

I look forward to each of your testimonies and with that let me turn to the Ranking Member for his opening remarks.”