Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and a bipartisan delegation have completed a week of meetings with partners in the Middle East & North Africa where discussions focused on the fight against ISIS.

“ISIS is a threat to freedom and security worldwide,” said Chairman Royce.  “It has carved out sanctuaries in Syria, Libya and Iraq to plan and inspire attacks – including here in the United States. 

“We must accelerate efforts to defeat ISIS to keep America safe and put an end to the atrocities being carried out against ethnic and religious minorities.  In Iraq alone, ISIS has driven more than a million men, women and children from their homes.  An entire generation of children is at risk. 

“Thankfully, the United States has partners in the region and around the world committed to winning this fight.  I appreciate the hard work of our diplomats and service members, and all who welcomed us during our visit.  The House Foreign Affairs Committee will continue to lead in providing needed tools and support.”

Chairman Royce and the delegation visited:

  • Amman, Jordan.  In meetings with Prince Faisal and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mashal ZabenPrime Minister and Defense Minister Dr. Abdulla Ensour and U.S. Ambassador Alice Wells, the delegation discussed Jordan’s key role as a stabilizing force in the Middle East and partner in the fight against ISIS.
  • Baghdad, Iraq.  In Baghdad, the delegation met with Prime Minister Haider al-AbadiSunni tribal leaders as well as U.S. Ambassador Stuart JonesLt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, and Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Brett McGurk.The delegation also visited Baghdad’s Iraq Museum, where Royce highlighted bipartisan legislation – The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 1493) – to help counter the smuggling of Iraqi and Syrian antiquities, which is aiding ISIS.
  • Erbil, Iraq.  In Erbil, Chairman Royce and the delegation met with Kurdistan Regional Government officials – including Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani andDeputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani.  They also met with Yazidi activists and visited St. Elia Church, which is currently home to at least 120 Christian families who’ve been driven from their homes by ISIS’s genocidal acts.The delegation observed coalition training of Peshmerga forces – including a squad of female fighters – fighting ISIS.  In December, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed legislation, authored by Chairman Royce, passed H.R. 1654 to provide desperately needed arms to Kurdish forces.
  • Tunis, Tunisia.  In meetings with President Beji Caid EssebsiPrime Minister Habib EssidU.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Daniel Rubinstein and U.S. Ambassador to Libya Peter Bodde, the delegation discussed security and economic challenges in Tunisia and the threats posed by ISIS in Libya.