Boozman Says Allies Continue to Express Need for “Strong Relationship” as Russian, Chinese and Iranian Influence Grows
Feb 26 2019
(Boozman and Members of a Congressional Delegation led by Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe, meet with German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen and members of the German Bundestag to discuss the U.S. – German alliance and a shared commitment to NATO)
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) said allies voiced concerns about the increasing influence of Russia, China and Iran at high-level meetings in nine countries last week.
Boozman traveled with a delegation led by the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). After representing the U.S. Senate at the Munich Security Conference—where the delegation conducted discussions with officials regarding political, economic and security issues—the delegation traveled to Kosovo, Israel, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Algeria and Spain to discuss bilateral relations between these countries and the U.S. and participated in classified briefings about U.S. military cooperation and regional security efforts.
“The message we received at each stop was that a strong relationship with our allies is important as Russian, Chinese and Iranian regional influence continue to grow at alarming rates. As we face evolving security challenges, it is critical that we reinforce our commitment to strong, capable partnerships. I remain dedicated to protecting and advancing our goals while working with our allies around the globe,” Boozman said.
While at the Munich Security Conference, the delegation met with Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan; Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General; Mariusz Blaszcak, Polish Defense Minister; and Ursula von der Leyen, German Defense Minister with a delegation from the German Bundestag.
The post-Munich leg of the trip included a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu where discussions focused on the possible U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria as well as the influence of Iran and Russia in the region. The delegation also visited the Iron Dome Missile Defense Site while in Israel. In Djibouti, the delegation got a firsthand look at China’s growing influence in Africa when it flew over the first Chinese military base outside of its territory. The members of Congress also met with political and security leadership in each nation as well as U.S. military leadership and service members, including Arkansans, stationed at U.S. military installations.
“With tensions on the rise around the globe, it is important to ensure that our troops serving abroad have everything they need to complete their mission and return home safely. It is always extra special to see Arkansans who are deployed far from the Natural State, working hard to ensure that the U.S. and our allies are safe,” Boozman said.