News Article

Thune, Cardin lead Senate delegation to Saudi Arabia
October 20, 2023


By: Elizabeth Crisp

A bipartisan group of senators, including South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.), are in Saudi Arabia on a diplomatic trip highlighting partnerships in the Gulf region.

According to a news release from multiple participants’ offices, the delegation is expected to meet with several Saudi officials during the mission.

Others on the trip include Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).

“The United States and Saudi Arabia have a common interest in preserving the stability, security and prosperity of the Gulf region and consult closely on a wide range of regional and global issues,” the identical news releases read. “Saudi Arabia plays an important role in working toward a peaceful and prosperous future for the region.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also traveled to Saudi Arabia, taking a trip over the weekend to discuss regional security with officials amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“It’s vitally important – and I know that our countries agree – that we work together to make sure that, to the best of our ability, this conflict does not spread to other places and other fronts,” Blinken said during a joint news conference Saturday with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. “In addition, the United States and Saudi Arabia are working together very closely in a number of other critical areas where it’s so important to try to bring greater peace, greater stability, greater security.”

Al Saud said that Saudi Arabia’s goal is to see that the situation is “de-escalat[ed).”

“The priority now needs to be to stop further civilian suffering,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) separately led a delegation to Tel Aviv over the weekend, during which the group had to be rushed to shelter from rockets, giving them a first-hand experience of the war.

“It shows you what Israelis have to go through. We must provide Israel with the support required to defend itself,” he wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.