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Mitchell Under Consideration for Middle East Envoy

By Anne E. Kornblut
George Mitchell, the former Senate Democratic Majority Leader, is under serious consideration as the Middle East envoy for the Obama administration, Obama officials confirmed on Monday.

Mitchell is highly regarded as a negotiator for his work in the successful Northern Ireland peace process, and his selection would put a clear stamp on the Middle East as a top priority. In keeping with the tradition of presidential transitions, President-elect Barack Obama has said very little about the ongoing violence in Gaza in recent weeks, but is preparing to assume responsibility for foreign policy at noon on Tuesday.

Shortly thereafter -- at 3 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon -- the full Senate is expected to vote on confirming Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, swiftly giving her authority to make more definitive statements on the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict or even travel to the region (though the transition has said there are no travel plans in the works). Mitchell, whose candidacy was reported in the New York Times on Monday, led a Middle East peace commission in 2001.

The Mitchell plan for the Middle East helped form the basis for the international "road map" plan that helped guide Middle East diplomacy throughout the Bush years.

Posted at 3:09 PM ET on Jan 19, 2009  | Category:  Cast of Characters
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