Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, is on an official trip to the Middle East this week. At this time, he has concluded visits to Qatar and Iraq where he met with local officials and U.S. personnel. Rubio will remain in the region through the end of the week.
"During my meetings with officials in Qatar, I thanked them for remaining a key U.S. partner in the region. I was also able to visit with U.S. military servicemembers, including Floridians,” said Rubio. “Iraq remains in a precarious political situation that threatens to further destabilize the country and the broader region, and disrupt efforts to destroy ISIS.
"I stressed to Iraqi officials my grave concerns about the ongoing sectarian rivalries and political turmoil that are taking the focus off of ISIS and threaten not only Iraq's stability but that of the entire world,” Rubio continued. “We discussed efforts to ensure Iraqi political institutions are functioning and governing in an inclusive manner that benefits all Iraqis.
“ISIS cannot be allowed to continue to control vast swaths of land in which they not only commit barbarities but also train and plan attacks against the U.S. and our allies,” Rubio added. “As long as Iraq's political institutions are ravaged by bitter Sunni vs. Shia infighting, sectarian reprisals and no sense of urgency about the existential threat to Iraq that all of this poses, our shared goal of defeating ISIS becomes harder. I also was able to thank Kurdish officials for their assistance in the fight against ISIS.
"In recent days, we've been reminded of America's increasing on the ground engagement in the fight against ISIS. I was also able to spend some time with our brave soldiers, intelligence professionals, and diplomats and thank them for their sacrifice on behalf of our country. They are carrying out essential work to keep Americans safe and they need our continued support and prayers,” Rubio concluded.
Below are photos from Rubio’s trip to the Middle East:
On Sunday, Rubio met with the Qatar Minister of State for Defense Affairs, Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah in Doha, Qatar:
On Monday, Rubio met with U.S. Ambassador Dana Smith and Qatar's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani:
On Monday, Rubio met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani:
On Monday, Rubio met and had dinner with constituent service members from the Army, Air Force and Marines at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar:
Rubio with airmen and troops from Florida at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar on Monday:
On Tuesday, Rubio met with Council of Representatives Speaker Saleem al-Jabouri to discuss the political situation in Iraq, U.S. security assistance, and Iraqi support to defeat ISIS:
On Tuesday, Rubio met with U.S. Embassy staff in Baghdad, Iraq:
Rubio talking with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones on Tuesday:
Rubio with C-17 flight crew on the ground in Baghdad on Tuesday:
On Wednesday, Rubio met with Kurdistan Region Security Council Chancellor Masrur Barzani: