Hillary Clinton is headed to Egypt and Tunisia to offer support to the interim government leaders there, she told lawmakers Thursday. The secretary of state will also reach out to opposition leaders in Libya to discuss how the U.S. can assist the rebel movement.
Noting the "painstaking process" of vetting which Libyan opposition leaders are worth meeting, Clinton said “We know there are people we want to be associated with, we know there are people we don’t want to be associated with."
The planned trip comes on the heels of a top-level meeting between Obama and his senior advisers Wednesday over how the U.S. should respond to the turmoil in Libya. Obama has been sharply criticized on both the right and left for inaction over the situation in the Middle East. Clinton's trip will constitute the first time someone from the president's cabinet visits Egypt and Tunisia since their respective uprisings. In the meeting, Clinton reiterated the administration's position that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi "leave now and without further delay." Earlier today, Foreign Policy notes, she also told a congressional panel that the State Department would be "suspending our relationship with the existing Libyan embassy" in Washington.