U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will join a bipartisan Congressional Delegation led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor which will visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, France, and the United Arab Emirates this coming week:
"I look forward to discussing how we can better address shared security threats, as well as using the opportunity to press these foreign government officials on policies which undermine U.S. interests and run contrary to democratic values.
"One of my top priorities on the trip will be discussing ways that we can increase global pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions and cease its support for extremist groups. One goal that all responsible nations must be committed to is preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
"I will also use this as an opportunity to press these governments to respect human rights, particularly with respect to women, and end religious intolerance. This past year has witnessed enormous change and uncertainty in the region, and we must work to ensure that basic human rights standards are upheld going forward.
"I also remain concerned about the relationships between many countries in the region and our key ally, Israel. Responsible nations must stand by Israel, support its right to defend itself, and press the Palestinian leadership to meet its obligations so that a true and lasting peace may be achieved. Support for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, outside of negotiations with Israel, is deeply disturbing and threatens regional peace and stability.
"I thank Leader Cantor for spearheading this visit and its important agenda."
Said Leader Cantor:
"This trip will provide a critical opportunity for a bipartisan group of lawmakers to consult with some of our nation's key partners across the Middle East and Europe. I look forward to discussing a wide-range of issues, including the very concerning threat posed to the entire world by Iran's continuing support for terrorism and its pursuit of nuclear capability. By visiting this critical region at a time of such significance, we will be better informed to work together to address our concerns with Iran, the pressing threats of terrorism, regional instability and political transition, and the global economic crisis."