Kerry Likely to Visit Israel, Egypt in First Trip Abroad
Secretary of State John Kerry, who was officially sworn into office on Friday at a private ceremony on Capitol Hill, said he plans to visit Israel and Egypt as part of his first trip in his new role.
The trip, which is likely to signify the heightened determination of the administration to promote peace in the region, could take place as soon as mid-February, CNN reported on Friday, citing a U.S. official.
Kerry told U.S. lawmakers meeting to confirm his nomination last week that if the opportunity to reignite the peace process were lost, it would be “disastrous.”
"We need to try to find a way forward, and I happen to believe that there is a way forward," he said.
"But I also believe that if we can't be successful that the door, or window, or whatever you want to call it, to the possibility of a two-state solution could shut on everybody and that would be disastrous in my judgment," he asserted.
Hillary Clinton, who bid farewell to her coveted post at the State Department on Friday, visited Asia during her first trip abroad, addressing the many challenges facing the international community, including the global financial crisis, humanitarian issues, regional security and climate change.
John Kerry, now the nation's 68th Secretary of State, is expected to have a public swearing-in ceremony sometime next week.
He is the first chairman of the Senate Foreign Services Committee to become Secretary of State in more than a century, according to his State Department biography.
President Obama has thus far never visited the Jewish State during his term in office—an issue that was highly stressed by Jewish groups during the recent presidential campaign, in an effort to highlight the president’s less-than-favorable stance toward Israel.