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Biden To Embark On Fact-Finding Trip To Southwest Asia

(AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
Vice President-elect Joe Biden, in his capacity as outgoing Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "will depart later this week with a bipartisan Senate delegation to visit countries in Southwest Asia," according to a statement from his spokeswoman.

Details of the delegation's itinerary are not yet being released, for security reasons.

"The purpose of this trip is fact-finding: in the coming months both the Executive and Legislative branches will carefully review U.S. policy toward this region, and the trip will allow its participants to bring current and first-hand information to these reviews," said Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander.

Incoming Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry and Senators Jack Reed, Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham of the Senate Armed Services Committee will join Biden on the trip.

"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," Alexander said. "The delegation extends its thanks to the Bush Administration for their cooperation in making this trip possible."