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Societal issues, regional security top Clinton trip to Gulf region

From Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Secretary Hillary Clinton will focus on social issues during her trip, including child marriage and domestic violence.
Secretary Hillary Clinton will focus on social issues during her trip, including child marriage and domestic violence.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Secretary of State Clinton will spend five days in the Persian Gulf region
  • She will visit the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar
  • Issues for discussion will include regional security and societal development

Washington (CNN) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves on a five-day trip to the Persian Gulf region this weekend, a visit that will highlight citizens' participation in society and opportunity for young people in a part of the world where a majority of the population is under 25.

With stops in the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, Secretary Clinton will focus on social issues including child marriage and domestic violence, as well as on innovation and promoting business development.

In a pre-trip briefing with reporters, State Department officials said the secretary also will meet with the leaders of those three countries to discuss regional security issues including Iraq, Iran, the Middle East peace process, Lebanon and Yemen.

"What we're really hoping to do is elicit more expressions of support for the Iraqi government," one official said. "We now have a government on the ground in Iraq after a very long and somewhat tortuous process. It is important for the region to step up and provide them support. It is important for Iraq, frankly, to be reintegrated back in the region."

Iran also will top the security agenda and, the official said, Gulf state leaders "obviously have a vested interest in this."

"Over the years, we've had very good and very robust discussions with them," the official said. "In her meetings. she'll want to take stock of where we are on the sanctions regime."

In Qatar, Clinton will participate in the Seventh Forum for the Future, a joint initiative of the countries of the broader Middle East and North African region and the industrialized countries of the G8. She will take part in a conversation with a foreign minister from the region, a civilian representative, and a business representative.

The Obama administration has invested considerable energy in improving relations with Qatar, a key player in many regional issues including Sudan and Yemen.

 
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