November 29, 2022
WASHINGTON DC – Right this moment, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) delivered a keynote tackle at a Senate International Relations Committee Nominations Listening to to contemplate Christopher T. Robinson, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia, George P. Kent, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia, Kenneth Merten, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria , Kathleen Ann Kavalec, Ambassador to Romania, and Bijan Sabet, Ambassador to the Czech Republic.
Senator Portman stated he regarded ahead to listening to extra in regards to the candidates’ efforts to fight disinformation and cyber threats in the event that they had been to serve of their respective international locations. He additionally referred to the continued threats from Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine and thanked the candidates for his or her present work in public service.
A transcript of Senator Portman’s interrogation might be discovered beneath and the video might be discovered right here.
“Thanks very a lot, Senator Shaheen, and my pal and associate in so many legislative initiatives. I’ll miss the partnership with you in the US Senate, however I sit up for persevering with to remain linked.
And to my colleagues who’re with us right here and who’re already in public service – seven of the ten of you on these two panels who’ve beforehand served our nation as profession members of our international service. Thanks on your service. And to all of you, thanks for agreeing to tackle extra obligations. It is a powerful panel, and lots of of you have got had the chance to work with, or at the least talk about with, over time.
“Our first panel, we have now Deputy Assistant Secretary Chris Robinson who simply mentioned is touring to Latvia, if confirmed efficiently and he is no stranger to engaged on these points, together with most just lately at Moscow, which I believe is sweet coaching for this process. Sadly, our nice ally Latvia is more and more feeling cyber threats and different threats from Russia. So I believe this context might be very useful that Mr. Robinson will carry to the desk.
“I additionally see that we have now George Kent with us – Deputy Undersecretary for Estonia. I fondly keep in mind Mr Kent – a gathering with you in 2018, I believe it was within the spring of 2018 and whenever you helped me to have the ability to get transportation to the road of contact again then.Do not forget that in 2014 the Russians invaded for the primary time and in 2018 there was a scorching battle within the Donbass. I used to be capable of expertise it firsthand, partly due to your interventions. I respect that. Now I need to know what we’re going to do to attempt to assist Estonia much more to push again , once more, the threats she faces together with cyber threats. By the best way, the place I used to be capable of go was east close to Bakhmut and seeing the current images of Bakhmut is heartbreaking. This a part of the nation was utterly destroyed by the brutal assaults of Russia and the Wagner group particularly, mercenaries. I sit up for seeing how we are able to deepen our ties with Estonia.
“Then Ken Merten is right here, candidate for Bulgaria, a robust ally of the US. I’ve labored with Mr. Merten earlier than as a result of when he was within the Workplace of Western Hemisphere Affairs, he helped on a really delicate challenge relating to Haiti and I advised you this, however I respect your private involvement with my constituents and presumably a constructive end result.. However I’m curious to know the way you’ll strengthen our partnership with Bulgaria and combat Russia’s efforts to exert a unfavorable affect on this nation as effectively. That is an vital function proper now.
“Ms. Kathleen Kavalec is right here, who’s the candidate for Romania. I used to be in Romania final yr. They’ve accomplished an amazing job making an attempt to assist with regard to Ukraine. you understand, electrical points with Russia bombing the infrastructure in Ukraine. They’re being accomplished immediately. I am glad to have the chance to see you earlier than the committee and I appreciated speaking to you on the Come on in. Glad you are lastly right here.
“After which lastly, Mr. Bijan Sabet, Ambassador to the Czech Republic. The one non-professional candidate on this panel. I’m curious how your expertise within the non-public sector will serve you on this vital function with the Czech Republic once more at a important time of their relationship with Prague. Once more, thanks very a lot.”