Secretary Clinton testifies before the Foreign Relations Committee
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I had the opportunity to raise two foreign policy issues of particular concern to me. I first asked the Secretary about the Administration’s approach to dealing with the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. The Secretary and I agreed that we must use all tools at our disposal, from diplomacy to robust economic sanctions, to convince the Iranian regime to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. I support President Obama’s plan to engage Iran diplomatically, and along with Senator Brownback of Kansas I recently introduced the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009, legislation to authorize state and local governments to divest their pension funds of assets held by companies that continue to do business with Iran.
Secretary Clinton and I also discussed the escalating crisis in Pakistan. The Pakistani military is engaged in heavy fighting with the Taliban insurgency, which has captured territory within 60 miles of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. What is particularly troubling from the perspective of United States national security is the prospect of a Pakistani nuclear warhead ending up in the hands of the Taliban, Al Qaeda or other extremist groups. A terrorist group acquiring nuclear weapons would pose a grave threat to the world. The Secretary assured me that she and other senior U.S. officials are confident that Pakistan’s nuclear material is adequately secure. I will continue to work with the Administration to help counter the Taliban threat in Pakistan.
Click here to read my floor statement on our strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.