Frequent flier Clinton hits 100-country mark

Associated Press
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton walks with a bouquet of flowers she received after arriving in Riga, Latvia, Thursday, June 28, 2012. According to the State Department, Clinton has set a new frequent-flier record, touching down in her 100th country as America's top diplomat. She has made 70 trips, completed 337 days on the road, and spent the equivalent of over 73 days on the plane, equaling over 1,750 hours. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, Pool)
.

View gallery

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton made and marked history on Thursday, setting a new frequent-flier record for American secretaries of state by touching down in her 100th country and commemorating the strong stand one of her predecessors took against Soviet expansion.

The globe-trotting Clinton hit the century mark when she stepped off her Air Force Boeing 757 plane in the Latvian capital of Riga. No previous secretary of state has visited more than 96 countries while in office, according to the State Department. The previous record-holder was Madeleine Albright, who served as secretary of state during President Bill Clinton's second term in office.

[Related: 'Texts from Hillary Clinton' web parody]

In her three and a half years as secretary, Clinton has so far logged 70 trips abroad to countries from Afghanistan to Zambia, the department said. She has spent 337 days on the road, including more than 1,750 hours, or more than 73 days, on her Air Force 757, it said. Counting her trips abroad as first lady, Clinton has now represented the United States in 122 countries, according to her staff.

Clinton, who first visited Riga with her husband in 1994, is in Latvia on the second stop of a four-nation European swing that took her to Finland on Wednesday and will see her visit St. Petersburg, Russia, and Geneva, Switzerland, where she will attend an international conference aimed at ending the crisis in Syria.

[Related: Clinton sports Mardi Gras glasses at swearing-in]

In Riga, Clinton was meeting Latvian officials and dedicating a street in front of the U.S. Embassy in honor of former Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles. In 1940, he issued what became known as the Welles Declaration, which set out Washington's refusal to recognize the Soviet Union's takeover of the Baltic States — Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

"We were proud never to have wavered in supporting the independence of Latvia and the Latvian people, and we are proud now to be a partner of a free Latvia," Clinton said before meeting the country's prime minister.

View Comments (3363)