January 18, 2017

Kaine Questions UN Ambassador Nominee Nikki Haley on Freedom of Press, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Foreign Interference in U.S. Election and Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, participated in a hearing on the nomination of Governor Nikki Haley to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (UN). Kaine questioned Haley on the importance of freedom of the press – both at home and abroad - as well as her views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and her commitment to protecting the integrity of nations’ electoral processes and to upholding the Iran nuclear deal.

“Authoritarian nations around the world are cracking down on the freedom of the press, and that is a freedom that is part of the 1947 UN Declaration of Human Rights,” Kaine asked, before asking Haley whether she agrees that efforts to restrict the press – including “blacklisting members of the press whose coverage you don’t like or ridiculing individual journalists. … or imploring voters not to trust the media” – would be a clear violation of not just the UN Charter, but American values.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kaine pressed Haley on the importance of upholding the 70-year-long bipartisan commitment to achieving a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict and ensuring all parties work to support peace.

Kaine also reiterated his stance that the U.S. should stand firm against foreign involvement in other countries’ elections, urging Haley to “be willing to speak out for the integrity of nations’ electoral processes and work with colleagues to present a Security Council resolution to counter Russia for their activities to try to influence the elections of other nations.”

“We’ve had all this reporting about Russian efforts to influence the American election and it’s not the first time,” Kaine said. “They did it with respect to the Brexit election. There is significant discussion about what they may be doing with respect to the French presidential election and with elections for the German Chancellor as well.”

Finally, Kaine asked Haley about her commitment to upholding the Iran nuclear deal to emphasize that the U.S. unilaterally backing out of the deal would be harmful to our alliances and partnerships in addition to nuclear security.  He also noted that Israeli intelligence and military officials agreed that the nuclear deal was “working with respect to the nuclear aspect of Iran’s activities” and that Iran’s other “troubling” activities need to be “aggressive[ly]” countered.