WASHINGTON – In a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today announced his intention to withhold consent for U.S. arms sales to member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) until there is a path for resolving the ongoing dispute. Major arms sales are subject to preliminary approval by the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee before the statutory, 30-day congressional review process.
Full text of the letter is included below and available online here.
Dear Secretary Tillerson:
I could not have been more pleased with the President’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia. The unity of the Gulf States and their commitment to security cooperation were welcome steps forward. We need to remain united in the face of rising threats from Iran and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
I agree with and support the joint statement issued by the United States and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), specifically the commitments to “ease regional conflicts,” “strengthen partnership frameworks,” establish “deeper security cooperation,” and “strengthen and support economic relations.”
Unfortunately, the GCC did not take advantage of the summit and instead chose to devolve into conflict. All countries in the region need to do more to combat terrorism, but recent disputes among the GCC countries only serve to hurt efforts to fight ISIS and counter Iran. For these reasons, before we provide any further clearances during the informal review period on sales of lethal military equipment to the GCC states, we need a better understanding of the path to resolve the current dispute and reunify the GCC.