'Clinton told aides ME trip is WikiLeaks apology tour'

The 'Independent' reports US secretary of state forced to smooth over damaged relations with Gulf States in aftermath of cable leaks.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 12, 2011 13:16
2 minute read.
Hillary Clinton in Yemen

Clinton in Yemen 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton privately told aides that her current tour through the capitals of Washington's Middle Eastern allies is actually an "apology tour," meant to ease relations damaged by the revelation of US diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, UK newspaper the Independent reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, following a meeting with Arab leaders in Yemen on Tuesday, Clinton told aides she should have a tour jacket like those worn by rock band roadies with a "big picture of the world and would say 'The Apology Tour' on it."

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Clinton's six-day trip includes stops in UAE, Oman and Qatar, who were revealed as fearing a nuclear Iran and shown urging the US to take action against the regime in Teheran in various WikiLeaks cables.

On Tuesday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced that the website will step up its publication schedule of secret documents, promising more revelations based on the group's stash of confidential US embassy cables and other leaks.

WikiLeaks sparked an international uproar with the publication of hundreds of classified US diplomatic cables late last year, revelations that caused weeks worth of embarrassing news stories for the US and its allies. But the flow of leaks, published in The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais, has slowed recently amid a barrage of online attacks, financial difficulties and the Swedish prosecution of Assange.

Assange, 39, spoke to reporters outside London's high-security Belmarsh Magistrates' Court, where he and his lawyers appeared for a hearing in his fight against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted in a sex-crimes inquiry.

Assange, wearing a dark suit, was in court for just 10 minutes for a discussion of his next appearance, scheduled for February 7.

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