Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Belgium, Switzerland, and Turkey from March 1–7, 2009, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Thursday.
A source told The Cable that among the entourage accompanying Clinton on her first Middle East trip as Secretary of State will be the NSC senior director on the Middle East and North Africa, Daniel Shapiro.
Currently, U.S. special envoy on the Arab-Israeli conflict George Mitchell is on his second trip to the region since becoming envoy, visiting Turkey, Israel, the U.A.E., etc. He is accompanied by NSC executive secretary Mara Rudman. Mitchell and Clinton will meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt for a Gaza donors' conference beginning on Monday.
More details on Clinton's forthcoming trip from Wood's statement today:
Secretary Clinton will attend and participate in the donor’s conference for Gaza recovery hosted by Egypt on March 2. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell and other high-level representatives will be in attendance in Sharm el-Sheikh with the Secretary during the conference. The Secretary also will meet with senior Egyptian officials.
After the conference, Secretary Clinton will travel to Israel and the Palestinian Territories and meet with senior officials.
In Brussels, Secretary Clinton will attend an informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on March 5, where she will consult with Allies and seek consensus on the approach to the upcoming NATO Summit. The Secretary also will attend a meeting with foreign ministers from all NATO and EU countries, as well as Switzerland, to further boost transatlantic relations.
Also in Brussels, Secretary Clinton will meet separately with EU officials.
In Geneva, Secretary Clinton will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss a number of issues of mutual interest, including possibilities for a follow-on agreement to START, and deepening our cooperation in areas such as Afghanistan.
While in Ankara Secretary Clinton will meet with key Turkish officials.
John Hudson reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for The Cable.