The embassy contacted leaders from those sectors, and a meeting was tentatively set for March 25.
But a week before the meeting, the embassy e-mailed the civil-society folks to say the committee staffers were no longer able to meet. Seems they had a very busy schedule and many other people to get to, so there was simply no time.
Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. He began his reporting career at the Rocky Mountain News and joined The Post in 1980. He has covered local and federal courts, the Supreme Court and the State Department. Follow him on Twitter.
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Several members of John F. Kennedy’s Cabinet were flying over the Pacific when they hard the news.
A committee source says they were invited to meet instead with the U.S. ambassador at a “larger gathering with a wide variety of business, government and civil society groups.” Doesn’t seem quite the same thing.
Well, maybe the committee aides met with reps of similar groups in New Zealand. (Civil society not being very big — pretty much nonexistent — in Vietnam.)
There are scurrilous reports that some of the committee staffers found time while in New Zealand to squeeze in a visit to the site of the Hobbit village in “The Lord of the Rings.”
We’ll believe that only if we see photographic evidence.
Crises large and small
Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s Mideast peacemaking trip seems to be going relatively smoothly.
But as our colleague Anne Gearan reports, it had a hard time getting off the ground Saturday.
Kerry’s Air Force plane suffered technical problems after he, wife Teresa Heinz Kerry and staff members had boarded for a scheduled 7 a.m. departure to Turkey.
The Air Force scrambled to transfer luggage, equipment and food from one 757 jet to another, while Kerry cooled his heels in the distinguished visitors’ lounge at Joint Base Andrews. More than three hours later, the party took off on the replacement plane.
In Turkey, Kerry tried to reinforce an agreement to repair the key Muslim nation’s ties to Israel. The deepening humanitarian crisis in Syria was a main agenda item.
Kerry then traveled to Israel and the West Bank. He is trying to shepherd new peace talks on hold since 2010. The visit is a quick follow-up to President Obama’s first trip to Israel as president last month.
Kerry is also attending a meeting of Group of Eight foreign ministers in London before flying to Asia for crisis talks about North Korea.
With Emily Heil
The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.