Mitchell, Holbrooke Named Special Envoys
Former senator gets Mideast portfolio; ex-ambassador Afghanistan and Pakistan
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2009 3:11 PM CST
Richard Holbrooke, former US ambassador to the UN.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama and newly minted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton moved quickly today to build the administration’s diplomatic efforts, naming George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke special envoys, Reuters reports; both appointments were expected. Former Sen. Mitchell will focus on facilitating peace talks between Israel and Palestine, while ex-UN ambassador Holbrooke will address issues in war-torn Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Obama has pledged to help Israel and the Palestinians, and to conduct a thorough review of the situation in Afghanistan. Both diplomats have extensive peacemaking experience in Europe and the Middle East. “Today, we start the hard work to restore our standing and enable our country to meet the vexing new challenges of the 21st century,” Clinton said. “We must be smarter about how we exercise our power.”