The Envoy
  • Tim Gunn mocks Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits

    The Twitterverse was abuzz at the undiplomatic critique leveled this week at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's pantsuits-favoring fashion sense by style expert Tim Gunn.

    "Why must she dress that way?" Gunn lamented, in an appearance on TBS' "Lopez Tonight" Tuesday, after host George Lopez asked for Gunn's judgment on the style of various U.S. female politicians. "I think she's confused about her gender [with] all these big, baggy menswear tailored pantsuits."

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  • First Lady Michelle Obama visits João at Walter Reed Medical Center on Memorial Day 2011. (Arnaldo da Silva/joaosilva.photoshelter.com)• India falls in love with Pakistan's first female foreign minister. (The Independent)

    • An in-depth report probes whether the 9/11 attacks had state support from Saudi Arabia. (Vanity Fair)

    • Bipartisan working group calls on Egypt military leaders to allow international monitors for elections. (Working Group on Egypt)

    • U.S. law is preventing aid from getting to drought-stricken parts of Somalia under militant al-Shebaab control. (Sarah Margon)

    • Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former chief of U.S. State department policy planning, launches a foreign-policy column for the Atlantic. (Atlantic)

    • Joao Silva, the photojournalist who lost his legs when he triggered a landmine in Afghanistan, publishes photos of that day and his recovery afterward at Walter Reed Hospital, which closed yesterday. (New York Times)

    Read More »from News of the World: new Pakistani Foreign Minister woos India
  • Ehud Barak, Israel’s Minister of Defense, addresses the Holocaust International Day of Remembrance ceremony, Feb. 10, 2011 at United Nations headquarters. (AP)Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is arriving in Washington for a working visit with American officials Thursday, the Israeli embassy announced today.

    On his one-day trip to Washington, Barak will hold meetings with Vice President Joseph Biden at the White House; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department; and his new counterpart, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon, the embassy said. On Friday, Barak will meet in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

    The visit comes amid frustrated efforts by the United States and international community to get agreement for relaunched Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, ahead of Palestinian plans to seek recognition at the UN in late September.

    There are no real expectations that Barak's consultations in the U.S. this week will result in any breakthrough on stalled peace process efforts, a source who consulted with the administration on the visit told the Envoy.

    The Obama White House has similarly told allied nation diplomats in recent days there is not yet meaningful progress to report in its diplomatic efforts to get relaunched talks. A less than promising precedent was set two weeks ago at an uncomfortable meeting of the Middle East Quartet--the U.S., Russia, UN and European Union--in Washington. The veteran foreign ministers and statesmen hosted by Secretary Clinton could not even agree on a statement to issue after the dinner meeting, much less an action plan for bringing the warring parties back to the peace table (see more).

    The "Americans told us they could bring the parties together," one diplomatic official told the Envoy on condition of anonymity to express frustration with Washington's handling of the issue. But the traditional American approach "is to pre-negotiate with the Israelis and then tell [the Quartet members] you should ... endorse [what the U.S. and Israel agreed]. That's a problem dealing with sovereign countries."

    Separately, Israeli ambassador Michael Oren was spotted having lunch today at the Oval Room with National Security Council human rights and multilateral organizations adviser Samantha Power, restaurant-goers told the Envoy.

    No word yet on what was the subject of today's lunch, but one person who spotted them suggested the White House may simply be trying to step up its outreach efforts. Power is also the White House point person on international organizations. That includes the United Nations, which held a tense meeting yesterday on Palestinian statehood aspirations that may be a preview of September's dynamics.

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