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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Obama foreign trip details emerge

by Mike Dorning

While the Barack Obama campaign is keeping the dates of its international trip a tightly guarded secret, details are beginning to leak out of foreign capitals.

The Obama campaign announced late last month that the candidate would travel to Israel and Jordan in the Middle East and Britain, France and Germany in Europe. The campaign had already disclosed plans to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan, though it has left unclear whether the trip to the war zones will be included in the same international trip.

Reports in foreign media now suggest the trip is scheduled for late July.

The French news agency Agence France-Press reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet with Obama at the Elysee Palace on Friday July 25.

In Israel, Obama is expected to arrive on Tuesday July 22 or Wednesday July 23 for a two- or three-day visit to include a meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which cited a report in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot.

The German magazine Der Spiegel reports that the Obama campaign is considering a major speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the site of a famous Ronald Reagan speech in 1987 in which the former president challenged then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down that wall." A large new U.S. embassy opened there on July 4.

Der Spiegel also reports that Obama is considering meetings with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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