WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says his special Middle East envoy is departing on his first peacemaking mission to solidify a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and that he is empowered to speak for the president.
Obama spoke Monday in the Cabinet room, flanked by the newly named envoy, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As he dispatched his new envoy, Obama said he did not expect immediate success from Mitchell's mission. But he said he hoped this early dialogue from his administration would help open the way for an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Said Obama: "When he speaks, he speaks for us."