[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/23/mitchell.mideast/art.mitchell.afp.gi.jpg caption="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.
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.