The Cable

Lunch with the secretary

At noon today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was set to dine privately with a dozen of the nation's top foreign-policy wise men and women. Among them: State Department Policy Planning chief and former Princeton Woodrow Wilson dean Anne-Marie Slaughter, top speech writer Lissa Muscatine, former national security advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, and Samuel "Sandy" Berger," The End of History and the Last Man author Francis Fukuyama, former National Security Council official and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace president Jessica Mathews, the original "smart power" auteur, Human Rights Watch COO and former Holbrooke aide Suzanne Nossel, Harvard Kennedy School dean emeritus and former National Intelligence Council chairman Joseph S. Nye, Clinton advisor and former North Korea hand Wendy Sherman, and former Clinton administration Russia hand and Brookings Institution president Strobe Talbott.

What's on the menu? Among other things, discussion and guidance for a major foreign-policy speech Clinton plans to give next week. (More on that to come.)

Nursing a broken elbow that has kept her from two overseas trips, Clinton is keeping busy, meeting with Honduras's ousted President Manuel Zelaya Tuesday, as well as having breakfast with Vice President Joseph Biden, and preparing for the speech, as well as a trip later next week to India and the ASEAN summit in Thailand. While she was being represented in Moscow this week by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns (a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow who was one of the few aides invited to sit in on Obama's private meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a source on the trip said) and U.S. ambassador to Russia John Beyrle, Clinton was named by Obama as cochair and coordinator of the U.S.-Russia Commission this week. Her Russian counterpart will be Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (with whom Clinton famously "reset" relations with a toy button that was ever-so-slightly mistranslated). A previous iteration of the important commission was run at the vice-presidential level (Gore-Chernomyrdin), but there was a desire in Washington, Russia hands said, to find a construct that would avoid having Putin be the counterpart. Smart power, indeed.

The Cable

Riyadh denies Israel overflight report

The Saudi government has denied a report in the Sunday Times that it has given Israel overflight rights to strike Iran.

This press release was sent on behalf of the Saudi Embassy by Qorvis Communications to congressional hands last night:

Below please find a statement issued by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Information Office


WASHINGTON, [July 6, 2009] - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today issued the following statement in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia:

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia totally and categorically denies accounts published by a British newspaper regarding contacts with Israel or permission to use Saudi airspace for any hostile activities. The Kingdom is greatly puzzled by the publication of this false information, which directly contradicts the established, firm and clear policies of the Saudi government regarding relations with the occupying government of Israel and the Kingdom's prohibition against the use of its territories or airspace for aggression against another nation."