Senator Barack Obama is expected to sit down with European leaders as well as King Abdullah of Jordan, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas; he is also scheduled to meet with opposition leaders in Israel and Britain.
Because of security concerns an itinerary for the trip has not been released. On a conference call with reporters, Team Obama said they were not yet ready to disclose where in Berlin Obama will speak when he delivers an address on U.S.-European relations.
“The trip is not at all a campaign trip, a rally of any sort,” said spokesman Robert Gibbs. He said Obama would hold “a series of substantive meetings with our friends and our allies to talk about the common challenges that we face and the national security dangers for the 21st century.”
Denis McDonough, a senior foreign policy adviser, said Obama would meet with:
· Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Germany
· President Nicolas Sarkozy in France
· Prime Minister Gordon Brown as well as Conservative Party Leader David Cameron in Britain.
In Israel, Obama will meet with:
· Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as well as President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He also will talk with Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party.
Palestinian leaders have said Obama will visit the West Bank for his talks with Abbas, but campaign aides declined to confirm a location. In addition to Abbas, they said he will meet with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Obama will travel aboard a jet chartered by his presidential campaign. His trip has drawn intense media interest in the United States as well as overseas, where officials are anticipating the end of President Bush’s tenure in January.
The issue of a location for a speech in Germany has not been decided. German media reported several days ago his aides were hoping to arrange for a speech at the Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of the Cold War and the spot where former President Reagan delivered a memorable speech.
Chancellor Merkel also had some locations in mind, “We’re looking at a variety of locations in Germany and we’ll pick one that we believe meets our needs and also the needs of our German hosts,” senior foreign policy adviser McDonough said.
In addition to his trip to the Middle East and Europe, Obama has also said he intends to visit Iraq and Afghanistan.