WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the below statement in advance of President Biden’s trip to Israel, the West Bank, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
“As the President leaves on his first visit to the Middle East, the region faces similar challenges and opportunities as the rest of the world, including an ambitious China and competitive, revanchist Russia; the ongoing threat of terrorism and a dangerously advancing Iran nuclear program; dramatic food and energy insecurity; COVID recovery complicated by economic instability; long-lasting conflict and displacement crises; and ever-narrowing space for fundamental human rights, freedoms and civil society.
“These challenges require U.S. leadership, guided equally by our values and interests, to shape an integrated and collaborative response. President Biden has a responsibility to champion respect for human rights and the rule of law while also fostering security and economic cooperation throughout the Middle East, and affirming our iron-clad commitment to the stability and prosperity of the region.
“President Biden’s visit to Israel, the West Bank, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should underscore that the United States has not walked back its commitment to the region, and in fact will continue to lead with diplomacy and convene partners around a common vision. It should unite regional actors as a strong counter-weight to an Iran intent on bolstering its nuclear capabilities and menacing its neighbors. It should set the stage for the future of global energy security. And it should test the potential to confront our disagreements honestly and constructively.
“I look forward to the Administration’s efforts to support peace and cooperation among states in the region, and to extend and build upon our enduring commitment to the State of Israel. The bedrock of U.S. diplomacy remains our ability to work together with our partners to pave the road toward prosperity, freedom, and dignity for all people living in peace in the Middle East.”