[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/22/art.cnnlive1.cnn.jpg caption="Obama and Biden visited the State Department Thursday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell was named special envoy for the Middle East during an event at the State Department on Thursday afternoon.
The move could signal that Obama plans to get involved in the Mideast peace process early in his term. It was announced just before 3 p.m. at an event with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Also Thursday, former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke was named special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced.
Holbrooke, who worked as a diplomat, journalist and investment banker, became one of the most influential diplomats in U.S. history when he worked in the mid-90s to end the brutal fighting in the Balkans.