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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio on trip to Middle East

Marco Rubio was very far away from the action in Indiana. His office said Wednesday he's on a trip to the Middle East and has visited Qatar and Iraq "where he met with local officials and U.S. personnel."

Rubio, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is staying in the region through the end of the week, according to a news release. He is not traveling with other senators, a spokesman said.

"During my meetings with officials in Qatar, I thanked them for remaining a key U.S. partner in the region. I was also able to visit with U.S. military servicemembers, including Floridians,” said Rubio. “Iraq remains in a precarious political situation that threatens to further destabilize the country and the broader region, and disrupt efforts to destroy ISIS.

"I stressed to Iraqi officials my grave concerns about ‎the ongoing sectarian rivalries and political turmoil that are taking the focus off of ISIS and threaten not only Iraq's stability but that of the entire world. We discussed efforts to ensure Iraqi political institutions are functioning and governing in an inclusive manner that benefits all Iraqis.

"In recent days, we've been reminded of America's increasing on the ground engagement in the fight against ISIS.  I was also able to spend some time with our brave soldiers, intelligence professionals, and diplomats and thank them for their sacrifice on behalf of our country. They are carrying out essential work to keep Americans safe and they need our continued support and prayers."

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 3:39pm]

    

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