US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her top deputy, Robert Zoellick, are making separate trips to Europe next week at a time of turmoil among European allies about reports of secret US prisons in at least two eastern European countries.
Both Rice and Zoellick, the undersecretary of state, will meet with Germany's new chancellor, Angela Merkel. Merkel's foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, will be in Washington on Tuesday and is expected to raise the secret jails question.
Rice will travel to Germany, Romania, Ukraine and Belgium from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9. Zoellick will be in Germany on Wednesday and Thursday.