WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit.
“The Middle East is confronted by tremendous challenges and at this critical juncture, the partnership between the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council is vital. The death and devastation caused by ISIL in Syria and Iraq, the unrest enveloping the region from Yemen to Libya, and the continued concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons and their state sponsorship of terrorism are all sources of great regional anxiety.
“At this pivotal moment, President Obama has rightly convened this critical summit with key regional partners so that together, we can address these shared threats and overcome these common challenges. The GCC plays a critical role in the Anti-ISIL Coalition, maritime security, and counterterrorism efforts. This partnership must be further enhanced to defeat the variety of shared threats to regional stability, both today and in the future. The U.S. is deeply committed to the security of our partners from external threats and that dedication will be highlighted at this summit.
“While defense cooperation and regional policy coordination will rightly be the focus of the summit, it is also critical that the attendees discuss the root causes of violent extremism and instability. This will require a commitment to opening space for legitimate political debate, and supporting an agenda defined by human rights, a free press, and robust civil society engagement.”