Mr. Fitzwater. President Bush has asked Secretary of State Baker to return to the Middle East immediately upon the conclusion of the G - 7 summit rather than accompanying him to Greece and Turkey as originally planned. Since the Secretary's last trip, we have been engaged in quiet diplomacy to get agreement to a conference that would launch direct bilateral and multilateral negotiations following President Assad's response to President Bush's letter. The President and the Secretary are hopeful that progress can be made and feel that it could be very useful for the Secretary to meet again with the leaders in the region. The Secretary will, however, complete his plans to attend the ASEAN meeting in Kuala Lumpur, arriving Monday evening.
The Secretary will hold discussions in the following countries: Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
I don't have any other details at this time, but I did want to make that announcement. And we'll provide more as soon as we can get it.
Q. When does he leave?
Mr. Fitzwater. Right after the G - 7 meeting.
Note: The Press Secretary read the statement at 5:58 p.m. to reporters at the Hilton Hotel in London, United Kingdom. In his statement, he referred to President Hafiz al-Assad of Syria.