Senator Kaine speaks with Alhurra reporter

Senator Kaine Talks to Alhurra TV about Syria and Ukraine

Senator Kaine speaks with Alhurra reporterSen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) spoke with Alhurra’s Congressional Correspondent Rana Abtar about the humanitarian crisis facing Syria’s neighboring countries as refugees continue to stream across borders. He noted that while the U.S. is the biggest provider of humanitarian aid in the world, the Syria refugee crisis is “the biggest humanitarian challenge since World War II.”  Dealing with this crisis, he added, “is going to require an awful lot of nations. The U.S. has to be a leader, but other nations have to step up as well.”

During his recent trip to Lebanon, Sen. Kaine said he was “struck that every aspect of Lebanese life is affected by the Syrian civil war.” Lebanon is now home to more than a million Syrian refugees and the population surge is impacting schools, the economy, the health care system and resources such as water and energy. “The refugee challenge,” he said, “is enormous.”

When asked about arming Syrian opposition, he advocated arming inclusive and broad-based elements of the opposition with small arms, “making them stronger in the battle against Assad.” He added that he thinks it will help to show all sides “that a negotiated resolution in Geneva is the only course.”

Sen. Kaine also addressed the crisis in Ukraine, stating that the best thing the U.S. can do is make sure the Ukraine economy stays strong, so that “they can resist the stress and pressure that Russia is trying to impose on them.” At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing earlier in the day, he proposed that the U.S. looks at its “significant growth in our gas and energy assets. If there is a way we can help Ukraine wean themselves away from independence on Russian energy…I think that could be a strong support that we could provide.”