January 23rd, 2009
02:10 PM ET
8 years ago

Mitchell to travel to Mideast shortly

[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.

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. Kevin in Ohio

    I'll bet Hamas and Hezbollah are eager to meet Mitchell..... he'll give them what they want.

    January 23, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. J.P.

    Yes, Georgie, tell those Israelis to just learn to live with Hamas rockets showering down on their businesses, homes and schools.

    January 23, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. J.P.

    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.

    January 23, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. CAW in MD

    @Obama victim

    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.

    January 23, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Eugene

    Ah, to have wisdom and forthrightness back in Middle East policy-making!

    January 23, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. GiroGeezer, Calif.

    Cy Borg Young January 23rd, 2009 3:19 pm ET
    Is he going to come back with a report on their steroid use?
    Hahahah Excellent!!

    January 23, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Chris

    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

    January 23, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. Dawn

    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"

    January 23, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. amt

    I have confidence in Mitchell, unlike Clinton, he does have the foreign policy experience & is an expert negotiator.

    January 23, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. Joyce in Indiana

    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.

    January 23, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Jon in CA

    Joyce in Indiana,

    Are you a member of the Aryan Nation? Your anti-Semtic rant betrays any denial you undoubtedly will offer.

    January 23, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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