(CNSNews.com) – Contending that the “Arab spring” has made non-Muslim religious minorities in the Middle East more vulnerable than ever, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) is voicing frustration over the State Department holding up a Senate bill to appoint a special envoy focusing on the issue.
“I am concerned that time is running out – both in terms of the legislative calendar for this year and in terms of the plight of these communities,” he wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late last week. “[D]espite the strategic imperative and the moral obligation to act, the State Department seems unable or unwilling to address the issue with the urgency it demands,” he wrote.
Wolf, who introduced a House bill creating the envoy post – it passed last year with strong bipartisan support – attributes the block to Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and says Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) also has disregarded his requests for a hearing on the matter.
Webb’s spokesman declined to comment, but last July he told CNSNews.com the State Department had advised the senator that the appointment of a special envoy would be “unnecessary, duplicative, and likely counterproductive.”
In his letter to Clinton, Wolf wrote that Webb also had indicated he was uncomfortable about the legislation moving ahead without being subject to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Wolf had written to Kerry on July 23 requesting such a hearing, to no avail.
Read More at cnsnews.com . By Patrick Goodenough.
Photo Credit: US Embassy New Zealand (Creative Commons)