WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two administration officials tell CNN that special Middle East special envoy George Mitchell could be traveling to the Middle East as early as next week.
Although the schedule is still being planned, initial stops include Jerusalem, Ramallah, Cairo, Amman, possibly Saudi Arabia and stops in Europe.
Watch Obama's emphasis on diplomacy
President Barack Obama named Mitchell Thursday as special envoy for Middle East peace, who will travel to the region as soon as possible.
Obama said Mitchell will help implement a cease-fire between Israelis and Hamas and support anti-smuggling efforts to prevent Hamas from re-arming.
But, he added, "Lasting peace requires more than a long cease-fire, and that's why I will sustain an active commitment to seek two states living side by side in peace and security."
Mitchell, who served as a Mideast envoy for the Bush administration, authored 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. He told the State Department audience Thursday that through those experiences, "I formed the conviction that there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended."
"Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings; they can be ended by human beings," he said.
Obama also named former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke - who negotiated the agreement at Dayton, Ohio, to end the Balkan war - as a special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I'll bet Hamas and Hezbollah are eager to meet Mitchell..... he'll give them what they want.
Yes, Georgie, tell those Israelis to just learn to live with Hamas rockets showering down on their businesses, homes and schools.
Five thousand years of recorded human history have shown that peace can never be "negotiated." It must be begged for by the loser.
You want peace in the middle east? Unleash Israel to do what needs to be done. The handful of terrorists left alive will be begging and pleading for peace.
Which guy - Obama or Mitchell? Not that it matters; neither man is suggesting surrender.
Mitchell had a perfectly fine plan for the region back in 2001. Nobody implemented it, because the Palestinians couldn't control the terrorists and the Israelis were unwilling to stop building settlements on Palestinian land. He could blow the dust off that plan and use it again, but only if the Obama administration is willing to keep score on who's complying and who's not (with consequences for those who are not, even our buddies the Israelis). Without that, there is no progress to be had.
Ah, to have wisdom and forthrightness back in Middle East policy-making!
Cy Borg Young January 23rd, 2009 3:19 pm ET
Is he going to come back with a report on their steroid use?
proudliberal-independent January 23rd, 2009 3:13 pm ET
good. let's seriously try to do something this time.
Yes, because nobody has ever been serious when they go over there. not even your buddies clinton and carter...
look, the main problem with sending an evnoy to speak with hamas and Hezbollah is the envoy thinks these two want peace. they do not want peace. their biggest supporter, Iran, is constantly calling for annihilation of Isreal...
George thinks he is going to be able to do a deal liek the IRA and Britain did...thing is, the IRA was beaten down and ineffective and wanted a form of peace...not so here
Well guys, maybe...wishful thinking on me... PEACE!!!!!
In the immortal words of the late, great John Lennon, "Give Peace a chance!"
but does anyone remember that we should have stayed out of the Middle East., because it was a "hot spot"
I have confidence in Mitchell, unlike Clinton, he does have the foreign policy experience & is an expert negotiator.
Maybe Sen. Mitchell will be successful, and maybe he won't. At any rate, isn't it better to try?
There are a couple of important things to remember when you are harping about Hamas rockets being shot at Israel. One is that there are illegal Israeli settlements on land that had been previously agreed to (by the government of Israel) as belonging to the Palestinians. The second is that Israel has completely cut Gaza off from even humanitarian aid and has been using white phosphorous against the Gazans, in direct vioation of international treaties. Of course Hamas shelling of Israel cannot be condoned, but Israel is not blameless here, either.
Joyce in Indiana,
Are you a member of the Aryan Nation? Your anti-Semtic rant betrays any denial you undoubtedly will offer.