This past weekend, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., joined a group of Republican members of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence to tour the Middle East and examine American programs.
Rubio joined fellow Republican U.S. Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and James Lankford of Oklahoma in visiting Lebanon and Jordan.
On Saturday, Rubio and the other senators were in Beirut where they met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri. Rubio noted his efforts with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, to crack down on Hezbollah’s finances, something he stressed to Lebanese officials.
"I stressed to our Lebanese partners the importance of cracking down on the terrorist group Hezbollah,” Rubio noted on Saturday. “Senator Jeanne Shaheen and I were sponsors of the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, which was signed into law in 2015. This law blocks the terrorist organization’s financing and limits its access to logistical support. Prime Minister Al-Hariri and I discussed ways to address Hezbollah's threat to regional stability, and the necessity of helping to build the capability of the Lebanese Armed Forces to confront terrorist threats.
"As always, I continue to be impressed by the work of Americans who serve abroad in our Beirut embassy and throughout the world as members of the Foreign Service. It is critical that we support their work in advancing our interests, as well as the goals of our international assistance programs,” Rubio added. "I was also honored to visit the Beirut Memorial, a tribute to the 241 U.S. service personnel, including 220 Marines, who lost their lives in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. While I was there, I remembered those who were killed during this terrorist attack orchestrated by Hezbollah and prayed for their families. They continue to be in our thoughts and prayers."
On Sunday, Rubio and the other senators traveled to Jordan where Rubio urged that nation to continue its efforts against Islamic State (ISIS) terrorism.
“Jordan is one of our closest allies in the region, and we cooperate with them militarily in combating ISIS as well as dealing with the refugee crisis stemming from Syria's civil war,” Rubio noted. “Today, Jordan hosts the largest Syrian refugee camps in the world, and our support to them helps make this humanitarian response possible.
“Last year, I introduced the U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act, which became law and provides support to Jordan in responding to the refugee crisis, combating ISIS and other terrorist groups, and helping mitigate the many challenges that exist along its borders with Syria and Iraq,” Rubio added. “As part of my visit to oversee U.S. programs in Jordan, I assessed the impact this law is having and what more can be done by the U.S. government to advance our interests in the region.
“Jordan's strategic partnership with Israel is a key part of promoting greater stability in the region, and I appreciate their ongoing commitment to that relationship. I am also hopeful that our Jordanian allies will continue their path to reform and allow all Jordanians a greater voice in shaping their country's future,” Rubio concluded. “In addition, I enjoyed meeting with the many Americans serving our nation in Jordan and thanking them for the work they do to advance U.S. interests, our strategic relationship, and security in the region.”
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