Washington, D.C. — In a speech on the Senate floor today, Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) called on the government of Qatar to exert pressure on Hamas leaders living in Doha to immediately and unconditionally release all remaining hostages from Gaza, including North Carolina native Keith Siegel.
Senator Budd also called on Qatar to extradite the Hamas leadership to the United States after the hostage crisis is resolved to face justice for the killing and kidnapping of Americans.
Watch the full speech:
“While we are grateful for the release of some hostages over the weekend, our hearts remain with those still being held. This includes several Americans – including Keith Siegel, a native of my home state of North Carolina.”
“In this clash between good and evil, the question that the United States should be asking is who can we count on to be on our side and who stands on the side of the terrorists.”
“This brings us to the State of Qatar. This is a nation that hosts Hamas’ so-called “political office”, including Hamas’ leaders. From the safety of Doha, these terrorists gleefully watched and celebrated the attack on October 7th.”
“Our two nations are friends, but sometimes friends must be honest with one another.”
“Earlier this month, I met with the Qatari ambassador in my office. I told him in no uncertain terms that his government must pressure Hamas’ leaders living in Doha to immediately and unconditionally release all hostages.”
“In the past two months, we’ve watched Hamas leaders use Qatar’s hospitality to buy time, prolonging the war and the hostage crisis from the comfort of their luxury accommodations.”
“While Palestinians suffer in Gaza because of the war that Hamas started, we’ve seen Hamas leaders push their genocidal agenda from Doha – including multiple meetings with Iran’s foreign minister, and even a visit to Moscow.”
“If Qatar’s leadership believes that any of this is consistent with what Washington has asked of them, it is not. So my message to the Qatari government is very simple: Stop this now.”
“Your leadership continues to speak out of both sides of its mouth – on one hand committing to negotiate a resolution to the hostage crisis, while on the other hand blaming Israel and absolving Hamas at every turn. We need to tell our friends in Doha loudly and clearly: Qatar is accepting a significant liability with its pro-Hamas policy.”
“This is personal for Americans. I’ve met with the families of hostages right here in Washington. I’ve heard their stories. I look at their photos every day on my desk. Every day that these families have to live with the pain and the uncertainty is unacceptable. We must stand united and say: Not one more day.”
“My view is that [Hamas leaders] should be extradited to the United States, so that these terrorists can face justice for killing and kidnapping American citizens in a U.S. court of law. I would hope that our friends in Qatar will not only be partners for peace and stability, but also partners in ensuring that Hamas and its leaders are brought to justice for the despicable acts of terror they committed.”