January 21st, 2009
04:42 PM ET
6 months ago

Sources: Mitchell tapped for Mideast envoy

Sources say Mitchell has been tapped as Mideast envoy.
Sources say Mitchell has been tapped as Mideast envoy.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration has asked former Sen. George Mitchell to be a special envoy to the Middle East, sources close to the administration and diplomats told CNN.

In the final days of the transition, officials talked to Israeli, Palestinian and Arab diplomats about the choice, the sources said.

Mitchell served as a Mideast envoy for the Bush administration, authoring a 2001 report that called for a halt to Israeli settlements and greater Palestinian efforts to crack down on terror.

He also was a peace broker on Northern Ireland for President Bill Clinton.

If named to the post, Mitchell would be one of several envoys who would work in the new administration.

Sources say that Dennis Ross, a former Mideast peace envoy for several previous administrations, will be an envoy in charge of engaging Iran on a wide range of issues, including its nuclear program and its support for terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who negotiated peace in the Balkans, is expected to become an envoy dealing with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Great choice!

    Now, it's time to regain our credibility and leadership around the world that was lost the last 8 years!!

    What a great start!!!

    YES WE DID!!!!!

    January 21, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. R in Maine

    The Middle East should be easy compared to drug use in baseball.

    January 21, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Susan

    A magnificent choice! Best of luck, Mr. Mitchell!

    January 21, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Richard Todd

    Will he find the steroids?

    January 21, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. Eric

    This is an excellent choice for Middle East Envoy. Hopefully he can repeat his Northern Ireland success out here.

    January 21, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. what a joke

    please say its not true

    get someone else who can handle this, some one with some sense of culture, middle eastern music and language and history

    throw this bum out

    January 21, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. A New Era

    Good Choice. Obama know how to pick a great cabinet.

    January 21, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. S Callahan

    Don't touch Jeruselam!!!!!!!!

    January 21, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Interesting choice. Can't say that I am overly impresses, but MItchell does have a record of dealing with the situation.

    January 21, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Tek

    I think this is a great choice. Mitchell is right in stating that Israel is at fault and Hamas is at fault. Hamas needs to stop firing rockets and Israel needs to stop building settlements on land that is to be negotiated.

    January 21, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Dwain

    Great Choice!!!

    January 21, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. JMac

    Agreed, good choice. If he got the Irish to acept peace, hopefully he can do the same in the middle east.

    January 21, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. bdave

    More of the same old characters who never supported any realistic plans on the issue. No progress.

    January 21, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Joseph

    This is George Mitchell, as in Mitchell Report, correct?

    January 21, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. frank castillo

    This will be one of the most difficult issues for Obama to solve outside the USA. It's hard to get peace settled with these people because they both have very strong point of views and very different religion views. You need to sit both parties at a table and discuss peace and let both leaders know that they are responsible for the peace in there own country. By this I mean, if a rebel group or an Israeli battalion wage battles with one another their respective countries must be willing to punish them to the fullest extend of their law. The time has come for America to stop telling people what to do and to start talking, instead of taking sides in wars. Obviously we need to back the side that wants democracy but if we do, we need to establish some ground rules. For when the party we support wins. Too many times we have gotten involved in issues like this and just walked away and let things go back to the way they where, or let get worst.

    January 21, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. ctvoter

    Excellent choice. One of the few Middle East diplomats who managed to make some progress, although not crossing the goal line. As with most appointments, Obama and his team are looking at what people have accomplished....not their "ideology". About time.

    January 21, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Lyndon from CA

    A wise choice. This gentleman has experience in conflict resolution, see Northern Ireland.

    January 21, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. frank castillo

    Never mind.

    January 21, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    Northern Ireland was very similar. Catholics vs. Protestants a hundred years of terror and hatred. Solving that showed that we can never give up hope in the Middle East.

    January 21, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Mick in Mesa

    Obama continues to pick people who have the chops for the job. After 8 years of cronyism I have to pinch myself just to prove I'm not imagining things.
    Now, if the Obama organization can just figure out how to tamp down and neutralize the rising tide of those hypocritic plantation obstructionists still left in the House and Senate maybe – just maybe – the country can get back on course domestically as well...

    January 21, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. Larry C. in Houston TX

    did you read the 3rd paragraph from the botom ? where it says :

    "authorizing a 2001 report that called for a halt to Israeli settlements"

    so that being said : why don't they just name Gaza "Palistine" ?
    if there is 1.5 million palestinians live there, why not name that area
    Palestine ????

    Reason : Israel does not want that, period.....They like expanding their homes / houses / businesses / buildings / & etc FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE , period.....

    For some odd reason, they do not want to just stay in Jerusalem / Tel – Aviv & other towns in ISRAEL.....

    Can you imagine, if Canada done this to N.Y. ? & move THEIR PEOPLE / Build Houses / on U.S. soil ????

    SO, all this being said......every president had the same problem since 1948.......and every president of the u.s. will continue to have the same 'ol problem......(the arabs & jews will fight til the end of time)
    There will be NO President that will ever fix it, until Israel quits building settlements on THEIR LAND !!

    January 21, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  22. Sye the Pychic

    As long as Mitchell doesnt belong to the PNAC,he ok with me.

    January 21, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. Chris

    so the next plotted terrorist attack will NOT involve androstene and HGH enhanced strongmen with little man parts and bad knees.

    January 21, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. Mari

    That's fine, however I am hoping that President Obama will also ask Collin Powell, Madeliene Albright and Bill Clinton to form a coalition of diplomats working on the Middle East.

    It was curious how Israel pulled out of Gaza after killing 13,000 or more! Not to mention all those maimed and orphaned, just before Obama took office!

    Its obvious that Bush looked the other way as more evil was done in the "name of democracy"!

    January 21, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  25. Charlie in Maine

    If anyone can do it (and I am not sure anyone can) this is the guy.

    Obama reall is putting a great team together.

    January 21, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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