01.15.16

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Travels to Middle East to Consult with Allies on Efforts to Combat Global Terrorism and Strengthen Security

Official Senate Delegation also met with International Inspectors Responsible for Holding Iran to Commitments to Roll Back All Aspects of its Nuclear Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) recently traveled to the Middle East as part of an eight-member Congressional delegation focused on security, including oversight of the Iran nuclear agreement, the war in Syria, U.S. efforts to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and continued security cooperation with Israel.

During the six-day trip, Baldwin met with leaders in Israel and Turkey, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, top counterterrorism officials in Saudi Arabia, and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials in Vienna, Austria, regarding implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement.

“We are at a critical juncture for American national security interests, and I recently traveled to the Middle East to meet with our allies and discuss the shared security challenges we face,” said Senator Baldwin, a member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. “In meetings with top government officials and military leaders, I gained meaningful insight into the threat to our national security interests posed by ISIL and the Syrian civil war. I look forward to using this on-the-ground information to help strengthen our national security here at home and keep our country safe.” 

In Vienna, Senator Baldwin and the delegation met with IAEA officials, including Director-General Yukiya Amano, to learn more about the progress being made to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the negotiated deal between the United States, Iran, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia to halt Iran’s nuclear program. Baldwin, a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, also heard about the IAEA’s critical mission and discussed the need to ensure that the IAEA has the resources required to properly inspect Iran’s nuclear sites and hold it accountable for any violations.

“I supported the Iran nuclear agreement, which was, and will continue to be, subject to strong Congressional oversight, so it was important for me to meet with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and receive critical updates about the status of the inspections and compliance regime charged with preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Senator Baldwin said.

While in Israel, Baldwin and her Senate colleagues reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Israeli security, including through the completion of a new Memorandum of Understanding on strategic cooperation and continued partnering on missile defense and anti-terror tunnel technologies. Baldwin also expressed to Israeli officials the importance of restarting the peace process and moving toward a durable two-state solution.

“In Israel, meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu provided me with an opportunity to discuss their security concerns, America’s cooperation with Israel, and the future of long-term peace and security in the region,” Senator Baldwin said.

In Turkey, Baldwin and the delegation held meetings with President Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to discuss the threat from ISIL and other terrorist groups and the Syrian refugee crisis. The Senators also met with government officials in Saudi Arabia, including women appointed to Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council, to discuss counter-terrorism efforts and U.S.-Saudi relations.

Senator Baldwin was joined on the trip by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Gary Peters (D-MI).