WASHINGTON, Jul 23 – White House hopeful Mitt Romney, bruised by US President Barack Obama’s recent campaign attacks, embarks on a major diplomatic mission this week to meet the leaders of Britain, Israel and Poland.
The six-day overseas trip, his first since clinching the Republican Party’s nomination in April, will allow Romney to drill into Obama’s foreign policy, including the president’s stance on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and his withdrawal of plans for a missile defence system in Poland.
According to a preliminary schedule sent out on Monday by Romney’s campaign, the candidate is set to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron and top cabinet officials, as well as Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and former prime minister Tony Blair.
Romney also will attend the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics this Friday before weekend travel to Israel, where he meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and opposition leaders, and gives a speech, apparently in Jerusalem.
He will also hold talks with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, according to Romney’s campaign.
On July 30 Romney heads to Poland, a key US ally in Eastern Europe, for talks with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and former president Lech Walesa, the anti-communist freedom icon who snubbed Obama, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, in May 2011.
Poland could serve as a key platform from which Romney could hit out at Russia, a country the candidate has controversially labelled a key geopolitical foe.
Ex-communist Romania and Poland have agreed to host part of a revamped US missile shield, after a previous plan for Poland to host a bulkier missile and interceptor system was scaled back, in part when Russia deemed it a security threat.