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Bush to visit Mideast in January

  • Story Highlights
  • U.S. National Security Council spokesman confirms Bush visit, but no details
  • It would be Bush's first visit as president of the United States
  • Bush also intends to visit Africa in early 2008
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush will travel to the Mideast in January as he pursues a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians during his final year in office, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe has said.

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Israeli television reported Bush will stop in Israel during the Mideast visit.

Johndroe confirmed that Bush will make the trip, but would not divulge details of his itinerary.

Israeli television reported Bush will stop in Israel -- a significant event because it would be Bush's first visit as president, although he did go as governor of Texas.

Last week, in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Bush insisted he had no plans to go to the region, saying he doubted it would have much effect on the peace process. He did, however, leave the door open for a possible trip in the future. Video Watch Blitzer's one-on-one with Bush »

The president has also said he will travel to Africa in early 2008. It was unclear whether the Mideast trip will be in conjunction with that journey.

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Following last week's Mideast conference in Annapolis, Bush appointed former NATO commander and retired Marine Gen. James Jones to an advisory role in the Middle East peace process.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that Jones will assume the role of special envoy for Mideast security, advising Rice and Bush as the White House seeks to play an active role in advancing the peace process in the region. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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