January 23rd, 2009
02:10 PM ET
10 months ago

Mitchell to travel to Mideast shortly

Former Sen. George Mitchell says that there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended.
Former Sen. George Mitchell says that there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended.

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.


Filed under: George Mitchell
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Obama 2.0

    They need to go ASAP for sure!

    January 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. JC

    I am VERY disappointed...thought Oprah would solve all our international problems.

    January 23, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. susan

    Mitchell appears to be stopping everywhere but Gaza. Heaven help us that anyone should consider meeting a Gazan or meet someone from Hamas.

    January 23, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. karen-Phoenix

    What a GREAT team Obama is forming!!! President Obama is our ONLY Chance of getting out of this mess and whether you voted for him or not, you better be praying for him because every American's life and your children's lives depend on the outcome of the Obama Administration. AND someone PLEASE fire Rush Limbough!!!

    January 23, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. JL

    Good, at least we (America) know something is being done now.

    January 23, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. proudliberal-independent

    good. let's seriously try to do something this time.

    January 23, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Pain in Israel's butt

    Sen. Mitchell hopes to smooth things over with Hamas in an operation aptly named Preparation H.

    January 23, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Cy Borg Young

    Is he going to come back with a report on their steroid use?

    January 23, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    you reporters need to start RESPECTING President Obama by addressing him as President Obama or Mr. President . I find it , as well as many others do as being very disrespectfull to not address him as whom he his our President. You'll need to get it right!

    January 23, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Steel Curtain

    Yep, gonna check in on his old buddies at Hezzbolah and Hamas.

    January 23, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Michelle

    What an excellent choice by Mr. Obama. Mitchell is exactly what is needed.

    January 23, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Bobby

    I am sooooo glad the first lady is "finally" proud to be an American, I wonder why??? Sorry, nothing good to say about this lady.

    January 23, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Suzi

    Mitchell is uniquely qualified for this negotiation. Our beliefs define where we will focus and how we will look for solutions and he has beliefs that look to a greater solution – that the two countries can live side by side.

    This are very positive steps.

    January 23, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Veronica

    Diplomacy is very important.There needs to be a attempt to talk to our enemies before we use our military.War is not the answer

    PEACE......GO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!

    January 23, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Bobby

    It is sooooo good to know that the first lady is finally proud to be an American, wonder why? Sorry, can't seem to like this lady.

    January 23, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. Conservative James, Phoenix AZ

    Peace will be impossible. One of the tenents of peace in the area will be Israel's neighbors insisting that the US stop supplying the Israelis with weapons. That will never happen.

    January 23, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. CHANGE.COM

    There would be no peace without any serious efforts to engage Hamas. Like it or not, they were democratically and legitimately elected. Whereas I do not approve of their rocket attacks or the Israeli target killings which led to the recent conflict, the notion that Hamas is not for peace is pure nonsense as both Israel and Hamas are using violence to get an upper hand (if there is any to be gained) in any peaceful negotiation. Mr. President is right in selecting Sen. Mitchell to lead this effort.

    January 23, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. From ChiTown

    US cannot be a mediator since they provide weapons to Isreal which have been used against the Palestinians.

    January 23, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Brandon from WI

    It is nice to see the administration taking a lead on this issue from the beginning and not as some afterthought. Sen Mitchell did some excellent work with the Irish that have also had generational fighting. This will be a much bigger problem, however, hopefully he will put the differing parties back on the right track.

    January 23, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Charles Atlanta

    It is a good thing that he has peace negotiation in mind. Remember, there is no forever peace, nor forever conflict. If Mitchell and Clinton can give middle east a few years of peace, that's absolute a positive thing in the region.

    January 23, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. Veronica

    Bobby January 23rd, 2009 3:39 pm ET

    I am sooooo glad the first lady is "finally" proud to be an American, I wonder why??? Sorry, nothing good to say about this lady.

    wrong tickler!

    GO MICHELLE OBAMA..OUR FIRST LADY..WE LOVE YOU

    January 23, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. LLM from MD

    @Bobby–grow up!! Can you honestly say you've been PROUD of America ALL the time???? I think not. The problem with us today is no one can be honest about his or her feelings without being criticized.... It's not a sin to be unhappy about your country at some point in your life!!!

    We've all been there and I am there now with over 4,000 lives lost in a war we were "tricked" into....

    January 23, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. Obama Victim

    this guy has a two word policy................."We Surrender"

    January 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. Mari

    @ Bobby........... IF you have nothing good to say........ SAY NOTHING.

    There have been many times in the last eight years when I have not been proud of my country!

    For example:

    WHEN BUSH LIED ABOUT THE REASONS TO ATTACK IRAQ.

    WHEN BUSH/CHENEY IGNORE OUR CONSTITUTION AND TORTURED POWS OF THE WAR ON TERROR.

    WHEN THE GOP SPEWS ITS HATE, LIES, FEAR AND DIVISION.

    January 23, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Peggy

    I think that George Mitchell one of the wisest choices that Obama has made.

    January 23, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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