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February 18, 2013 1:09 am

Rising GOP Senator Marco Rubio to Visit Israel, Jordan

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Senator Marco Rubio. Photo: US Senate.

Fresh off his response speech to the State of the Union address of President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is visiting Israel and Jordan this week.

Rubio, a potential 2016 GOP presidential frontrunner, said he is traveling to the region as part of his official capacity as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Foreign Relations Committee. He is meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad while in Israel.

“America’s friendship with Israel is a truly special one, and we must continue to do all we can to support this beacon of democracy, religious freedom and free enterprise in the heart of an unstable region,” Rubio’s press statement read.

“As Iran continues its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, we must continue to apply pressure through every possible means in order to prevent a nuclear Iran.”

Obama is scheduled to make his first visit to Israel as president in March. Republicans criticized Obama during his 2012 presidential campaign for not visiting Israel during his first term and for his strained relations with Netanyahu.

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