[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/06/24/obama.clinton.debt/art.obama.ap.jpg caption="Sen. Obama plans to tour Europe and the Middle East this summer."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama plans to visit Europe and the Middle East this summer, his campaign announced Saturday morning.
The senator from Illinois and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee will visit France, Germany, Israel, Jordan and Britain, his campaign says.
"This trip will be an important opportunity for me to assess the situation in countries that are critical to American national security, and to consult with some of our closest friends and allies about the common challenges we face," said Obama, in a statement released by his campaign.
"This will be an important opportunity to have an exchange of views with leaders in these countries about these and other issues that are critical to American national security - and global security - in the 21st century," he added.
Obama also intends to visit Iraq and Afghanistan this summer, he said in a phone interview with Radio Iowa. His campaign said no details would be announced in order to maintain "the highest levels of security."
But, he told Radio Iowa, "In Iraq, my goal is to talk to the Iraqi leadership about making political progress so that we can start phasing down our troops in Iraq, and obviously I want to congratulate the troops for the extraordinary work they've done in reducing violence there."
And, "in Afghanistan the situation, unfortunately, has not been improving," Obama told Radio Iowa. "On many measures, things have been getting a little bit worse so the key is to talk to our commanders on the ground and find out, what do we need to do to strengthen our efforts there? Our troops have performed magnificently, but we don't probably have enough troops there, and we've got to do a better job on the reconstruction side to build the infrastructure that's needed in that country to consolidate long-term gains."
On the Europe trip, Obama said, "with our European allies, I think what's important is not only encouraging their ongoing involvement and support in areas like Afghanistan and on the military side, but also to discuss a wide range of economic issues. There are certain issues like climate change that
can't be addressed without the participation of the Europeans as well. So that's going to be something that hopefully we'll be working on over a long period of time, but when it comes to nuclear proliferation, Iran - those are issues where we've got to act in concert with our allies."
The trips come as Obama tries to beef up his foreign policy credentials with voters.
In a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 54 percent of Americans thought presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain would better handle foreign policy, 11 points ahead of Obama.