Brussels Forum Day 2
It has been a full second day at the Brussels Forum, where I am leading a U.S. Congressional delegation this weekend. We started at 745 in the morning with a pair of early bird sessions and didn't stop until late this evening. A highlight in the morning was an engrossing talk by Bob Zoellick, the President of the World Bank, on the current global recession and strategies for getting out of it. I was pleased when he saluted the Global Food Security Act, legislation Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana and I introduced late last year to overhaul U.S. food assistance to developing nations so that we can give the farmers in these nations the tools they need to become self-sufficient on agriculture. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing on this issue on Tuesday morning.
I was a panelist for one of the late evening sessions, which focused on how the United States and our allies can handle the threats posed by adversaries in the Middle East. While I strongly support the new U.S. approach of diplomatic engagement, demonstrated powerfully by President Obama's stirring New Years greeting to the Iranian people, I emphasized in my remarks that we must always remember diplomacy is only a means, not an end. The challenge posed by Iran's nuclear program and the continuing acts of terrorism perpetrated by Hamas and Hezbollah require both skillful diplomacy and a coherent strategy of incentives and deterrents, including sanctions. And we can never neglect our closest friend and ally in the region -- the state of Israel.
I was concerned when I heard the news of the hazardous materials accident at Wind Gap. Initial reports indicate the spill was well-contained and there are no serious injuries. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Wind Gap and I have asked my staff to keep me updated.
Will check in a final time tomorrow before I leave!