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Kaine Arrives in Israel With Bipartisan Congressional Delegation After Visits to Saudi Arabia and Qatar

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, today arrived in Israel as a part of a bipartisan congressional delegation to meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian government leaders to discuss a broad range of bilateral and regional issues and reaffirm their support for the U.S.-Israel strategic partnership.  Prior to Israel, the delegation also visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Delegation members include Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Angus King (I-ME).

Today in Israel, the delegation met with President Reuven Rivlin, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Tomorrow the delegation will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, as well as Labor Party Leader Isaac Herzog and Hatnua Party Leader Tzipi Livni.

The delegation also visited Yad Vashem today, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, to lay a wreath in remembrance of the victims of the recent anti-semitic terrorist attacks in France. 

In Saudi Arabia, Kaine met with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, HRH Prince Khalid bin Bandar, and HRH Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, as well as Syrian Tribal Leaders.  In Qatar, the Senators met with His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, as well as Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani and Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah.  The discussions focused on the coalition campaign against ISIL, the ongoing Iranian nuclear negotiations, the disastrous humanitarian situation in Syria, the need for renewed peace talks between Israel and Palestine and other economic, security and human rights issues.

“Our partnership with Saudi Arabia contributes to regional stability,” said Kaine. “I thanked Crown Prince Salman and other Saudi leaders for their efforts supporting the coalition against ISIL. Saudi leadership in the campaign against ISIL is absolutely essential.  I also appreciated hearing Saudi perspectives on the region, including Syria, Yemen, and Iran.  Our partnership also allows us to have a frank conversation on issues which we differ."

 “Coalition efforts against ISIL were also a centerpiece of my discussions in Qatar, home of the Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC) that coordinates the campaign over Iraq and Syria against ISIL,” Kaine said. “I thanked Qatari leaders, including the Emir - His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani - for their support of the anti-ISIL campaign and discussed ways to deepen our security and economic ties.  We also agreed on the importance of regional institutions, such as the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC), to bolstering regional stability.”

"The visit also enabled me to meet and thank Virginians serving in the Middle East--from dedicated diplomats representing America in a challenging time, to U.S. servicemembers working hand in hand with our regional partners. Seeing these brave men and women always makes me proud of our country," said Kaine.