Senator Mitch Mcconell statement on the Abraham Accords
September 14, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Middle East:
“When I address the situation in the Middle East, it’s often to discuss instability, terror, or other threats to the United States and its partners like Israel.
“Those threats still exist. But I’m very glad to be speaking today because peace is breaking out. And it’s breaking out more quickly than we can even stage the official ceremonies to memorialize the diplomatic achievements.
“A few weeks ago, with major help from the United States and the Trump administration, Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years.
“The Abraham Accord is named for the shared religious roots that Christians, Jews, and Muslims hold in common. It will make the UAE just the third Arab nation, and the very first in the Gulf, to normalize relations with Israel.
“In the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu: ‘Full and official peace, full diplomatic agreement, with embassies, investment, commerce, tourism, [and] direct flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.’
“We have come a long way. What a moment.
“Far-sighted leaders in both countries made sacrifices to make the deal possible.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed understand that both Arabs and Israelis will benefit from the peace and prosperity that tearing down barriers can bring.
“America will also benefit from these two key regional friends working more closely together and reducing tensions across a challenging region.
“Now, to be sure, work is not finished, and no single step like this should be confused for an overnight miracle.
“In this case, we in Congress have an obligation to review any U.S. arms sales package linked to the deal. As we help our Arab partners defend against growing threats, we must continue ensuring that Israel’s qualitative military edge remains unchallenged.
“But the winds of change are blowing, and they’re bringing good news for peace across the region.
“Of course, a few extreme voices, perhaps correctly sensing that their moment is slipping away, are not happy.
“A predictable cast of characters wasted no time condemning the agreement and branding the UAE as traitors to the Arab or Muslim world.
“But unlike Iranian clerics or al Qaeda terrorists, everyone who’s actually living in the 21st century is celebrating this major progress.
“This major step forward is being documented in a signing ceremony at the White House tomorrow.
“But in just the couple of weeks that have elapsed between the announcement of the Abraham Accord and the official ceremony tomorrow, another Arab state has joined the parade toward peace.
“On Friday, September 11, Israel and Bahrain announced their agreement to open formal diplomatic relations. After Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE, this makes a fourth historic step toward normalization by Israel’s Arab neighbors.
“Along with President Trump, President Netanyahu and King Hamad of Bahrain called the agreement ‘a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East.’ And indeed, reports suggest that still more Arab states may not be far behind. This is a new course with the potential to fundamentally change the Middle East.
“Dennis Ross, a former senior diplomatic advisor to President Obama and longtime practitioner of the Peace Process, wrote yesterday that these agreements are bona fide ‘breakthroughs’ that are changing ‘the political landscape of the Middle East’ and the Israel-Palestine stalemate for the better.
“That’s how former Obama administration officials are praising the Trump administration’s successes.
“I’m grateful for this administration’s work to encourage peace. And I’m proud of this historic opportunity that American leadership and diplomacy has made possible.”