U.S. State Secretary Launches Diplomatic World Tour
United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, begins her world diplomatic tour with a visit to Istanbul, where she will arrive on Thursday, in an attempt to find a solution for the crisis in Libya.
Clinton will meet with senior officials from 40 states that support NATO’s operation in Libya, launched to protect the lives of civilians, targeted by the pro-governmental forces.
A meeting of the Contact Group will be staged on this occasion, the fourth of the sort, with the purpose of finding an efficient way to pressure Qaddafi to relinquish power, and to discuss means to boost support for the Transitional Council in Benghazi.
Clinton has already participated in two meetings of the Contact Group, during which the ties with the Transitional Council have been formalized, and financial support has been promised.
The Obama administration plans to free $30 billion in frozen assets of Qaddafi family and to give them to the rebels in Libya.
Clinton did not want to discuss intelligence reports from the field or what will be the agenda in Istanbul, but said that in her opinion Qaddafi’s days in power were numbered. She added that the people close to him are sending mixed messages related to his willingness to stand down.
Another topic the U.S. State Secretary will approach while in Turkey is the situation in the Middle East, where the leadership of the Palestinians is pushing to demand the recognition of the statehood for their territories during the next U.N. general assembly in September.
On Saturday, she will discuss with the Turkish leaders about the relations between Israel and Turkey, considering that during the same U.N. general assembly in New York the Palmer report will be discussed and officially presented, and if it looks as bad as the one presented in September last year, Israel will be very embarrassed by it.
Turkey continues to demand a formal apology for what happened on board of Mavi Marmara last May, when nine Turkish nationals were killed. Israel refuses to do so, considering that an apology would be as much as a recognition of guilt.
The brutal crackdown in Syria will be another topic Hillary Clinton will approach, especially at this moment when population of Damascus throws bricks and eggs at the U.S. embassy in protest to the action of the U.S. ambassador, who visited last week the city of Hama, where the Syrian unrest started four months ago.
In Turkey, she will attend an event in Istanbul which promotes religious tolerance. The event will be organized by the Islamic Conference, which comprises 57 Muslim states.
On Sunday, Clinton will arrive to Greece, the country that is threaten by bankruptcy because of its precarious economy. Here she will discuss the relations between Greece and Turkey, and the ways to surpass the economic crisis which is about to strike the world again.
The United States is a steady supporter of Turkey’s admission to the European Union, whereas Greece is likely to oppose it.
From Greece, the State Secretary will travel next week to India. She announced yesterday that the new Mumbai terrorist attack, in which 21 people were killed and 113 wounded, is not likely to deter her from coming to the largest democracy in the world.
She will discuss in India the economic ties between the two countries, and the leader role of India in South Asia.
From India, Clinton will attend a southeastern Asia security conference in Bali, will visit Hong Kong, and will return home on July 25.11