The Cable

Clinton to Africa

From a State Department press release:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will begin a seven nation trip to Africa on August 5 at the 8th U.S. - Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (known as the AGOA Forum) in Nairobi, Kenya.

While in Kenya, Secretary Clinton will focus on the linkages between investment and economic growth, as well as the singular opportunities provided to African countries through the landmark African Growth and Opportunity Act.  The Secretary will be joined in Kenya by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. 

During the visit to Kenya, the Secretary will deliver a speech at the Ministerial Opening Ceremony for the AGOA Forum; participate in bilateral meetings with Kenya's senior leaders; and engage with members of civil society.

The Secretary will continue her travel with stops in South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde.  In each nation, she will participate in bilateral discussions and public events in order to find new solutions to old challenges.  Her visit will underline America's commitment to collaborate with governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens to build societies where each individual can realize their potential.  

In addition, while in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Secretary Clinton will highlight efforts to combat gender-based violence.  In both Nigeria and Liberia, the Secretary will bring attention to the Obama Administration's commitment to helping nation's around the world implement self-sufficient and sustainable food security.

Following closely on the President's trip to Accra, the Secretary will demonstrate our commitment to a partnership with Africa that is grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.  Africa no longer sits on the margins of U.S. diplomacy and international trade.  The continent is a source of creativity, dynamic development, and the Secretary will call for even stronger links with global markets and knowledge networks.

Following her visit to Cape Verde, the Secretary will return to Washington, DC.

The Cable

Word from SecDef Gates' Israel meetings

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had "frank talks" with his Israeli counterparts at meetings in Jerusalem today, a person familiar with the discussions told Foreign Policy.

"Even as [Gates] noted that engagement was not open-ended (no new news there)," the person familiar with the discussions said, "he continued to push for Israeli patience to let our strategy play out, reiterating the September and December deadlines for an Iranian response and progress, respectively. He mentioned the possibility of a ‘non-incremental' increase in sanctions if Iran rejects our offer for talks, as well as continued robust security cooperation in the Gulf and elsewhere to make it clear that their pursuit of nukes will not improve Iran's security."

"Mr. Gates, speaking with [Israeli Defense Minister Ehud] Barak after meetings at the King David Hotel, said that President Obama hoped to hear Iran's response to the offer of talks at the time of the United Nations General Assembly in late September," the New York Times reports. "Nonetheless, he said, ‘we're very mindful of the possibility that the Iranians would simply try to run out the clock.'"

It's Gates's first trip to Israel since 2007. He and his delegation have headed onto Jordan.

U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell was in Israel for meetings Sunday, before being summoned for a quick trip to Cairo Sunday night by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak is expected to come to Washington August 17 for talks at the White House. National Security Advisor James L.  Jones leads a multi-agency delegation of around 10 U.S. officials to Israel Wednesday for talks with their Israeli counterparts about Iran.