Vice President-elect Joe Biden and a few fellow senators will depart later this week on a "fact finding" trip to Southwest Asia, according to a statement from his spokeswoman, Elizabeth Alexander. For security reasons, details of the itinerary will be released as the trip progresses, according to the statement, which does not name the countries they will visit.
The members of the delegation, who will be participating in all or part of the trip, include incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry (D-MA) and Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Biden will travel in his capacity as the outgoing Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Alexander said.
"The fact-finding delegation will make it clear to foreign leaders that they are not there to speak on behalf of the U.S. government, or convey policy positions for the incoming administration," she said, noting the delegation thanks the Bush administration for its cooperation in making the trip possible.