The Cable

Clinton's Latin America trip: all about Iran?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added an unplanned stop to her Latin America itinerary: Buenos Aires. The U.S. delegation will stay overnight in Argentina Monday instead of Chile, where the government is still preoccupied with the aftermath of Saturday's devastating earthquake.

"Instead of overnighting in Santiago on Monday night we will travel from Montevideo [Uruguay] Monday afternoon to Buenos Aires in order to meet with Argentine President [Cristina Fernández] de Kirchner, instead of in Uruguay as originally planned," a State Department official on the trip said.

Clinton was in Uruguay this weekend to attend the inauguration of Jose Mujica, a former guerrilla leader turned president. The Kirchner meeting was originally supposed to happen in Montevideo, but was changed after the Chilean earthquake caused Clinton's team to re-examine her travel plans.

Although Latin American countries are no doubt hoping to discuss a range of bilateral issues, Clinton is more likely to focus on the renewed international efforts to pressure Iran regarding its nuclear program. "Iran is at the top of my agenda," Clinton told a Senate committee last week when talking about her trip.

She might find the going tough, particularly in Brazil, which currently holds a seat on the Security Council. Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim recently poured cold war on the U.S.-led sanctions push, saying, "We don't believe that sanctions will prove effective." Under Secretary Bill Burns, the State Department's lead on the issue, visited the Brazilian capital ahead of the Clinton trip, but it's not clear what he was able to achieve.

Clinton will be in Brasilia Wednesday to meet directly with President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva and Amorim. Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela previewed Friday what Clinton's message will be when it comes to Iran.

"While we're cognizant of the fact that the Brazilian government has reached out to Iran and has been approaching the Iranians, it's very much on our agenda to try to insist with the Brazilians that in their engagement with Iran, we would like them to encourage the Iranians, of course, to meet their international obligations," he said, adding that the State Department views Brazil's opposition to new sanctions as a "mistake."

The Cable

Overlooked: 10 State Department nominees move forward

There is still no progress in the stalemate over the nomination of Laura Kennedy to be the U.S. Ambassador-level envoy to the upcoming conference on disarmament, but that's not to say other State Department nominations aren't moving forward.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported out favorably 10 State Department nominees, who now must be confirmed by the full Senate before taking up their posts.

Via the fine Diplopundit blog, they are:

Donald E. Booth, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Scott H. DeLisi,of Minnesota, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

Beatrice Wilkinson Welters, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

David Adelman, of Georgia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Singapore.

Harry K. Thomas, Jr.,of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of the Philippines.

Allan J. Katz, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Portuguese Republic.

Ian C. Kelly, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister- Counselor, to be U. S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador.

Brooke D. Anderson,of California, to be Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

Rosemary Anne DiCarlo, of the District of Columbia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be the Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and the Deputy Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations.

Judith Ann Stewart Stock, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Educational and Cultural Affairs), vice Goli Ameri, resigned.