Friday, February 04, 2005

Catch Me If You Can!

Rice tells press "Don't get lost"

LONDON (Reuters) - With Americans suffering a reputation as geographically challenged, Condoleezza Rice has handed out pocket atlases to the U.S. press corps on her first trip abroad as Secretary of State.

"I would not want anybody to feel lost" the former university provost quipped as she handed out 18 copies of the books on her plane.

Americans are often mocked abroad for their perceived lack of knowledge of the outside world -- surveys sometimes show U.S. kids cannot even locate neighbours Canada and Mexico.

The souvenir for journalists of her inaugural eight-day, 10-stop trip to Europe and the Middle East was also Rice's way of showing she will travel widely to fulfil her pledge that "the time for diplomacy is now."

Her predecessor Colin Powell was criticised for travelling too little when some more face-to-face diplomacy might have helped win over allies to radical U.S. policies.

Asked by reporters whether the presents were a portent of heavy travel schedules for the new top U.S. diplomat, Rice smiled and replied: "You will see."

Go get them Condi!

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