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Walz issues statement about Mideast trip

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following news reports from Israel and Syria, Rep. Tim Walz  released this statement about his trip to the Middle East with three Democratic senators:

“As a 24-year veteran of the U.S. military and a leader on veterans’ and military issues in Congress, I want to see firsthand this troubled region where American interests and security are directly at stake. These conversations with regional leaders are key to an opening a new chapter in American diplomacy.

“I am especially concerned with the ongoing Middle East peace process and was pleased to meet with U.S. General Keith Dayton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and other regional leaders during three days in Israel and the West Bank. Our trip, along with the strong commitment to diplomatic engagement displayed by the Obama Administration, will help demonstrate to the world that America is not only serious about protecting its own interests, but serious about seeing peace in our time.”

Walz and Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware spent part of a day in Syria, meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad. According to a statement from Walz, the lawmakers discussed the Obama administration’s engagement effort with the Syrian government. Walz also asked the Syrian president about the issue of foreign fighters entering Iraq through Syria.

In addition to Israel and Syria, the trip includes visits to the West Bank and Turkey.

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