Washington, 6 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - The White House has confirmed that First Lady Hillary Clinton will leave over the weekend for an eight-day swing through five former Soviet republics.
Her office said in a statement that she will visit Russia and Ukraine, as well as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, to show U.S. support for those countries. The statement said she is travelling to the region at the request of President Bill Clinton and the U.S. State Department.
Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to leave Washington Sunday for the Kazakh captal Almaty and spend two days there. Her first major speech of the trip is to be the keynote address at the Central Asian Conference on Women in Politics.
She also expects to meet Kazakh youth leaders, visit a Women's medical center and have talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his wife.
U.S. officials say the First Lady is expected to meet leaders and their wives in all five newly independent countries.
Her next one-day stop after Almaty will be the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on Nov. 12. Clinton's schedule there includes a discussion with women who have started their own businesses with the help of funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID).
The White House says throughout the trip she will visit AID programs promoting democracy, health and education and economic reform.
From Bishkek, Clinton is scheduled to travel to Tashkent in Uzbekistan where she will attend the opening of a Women's Center at the Tashkent Medical Institute. During her stay there, from Nov. 13 to Nov. 15, she will also visit the historic cities of Bukhara and Samarkand.
Mrs. Clinton will continue on to Yekaterinburg in southern Russia, arriving late on Nov. 15. She will stay overnight and leave later the next day for Novosibirsk in Siberia. The First Lady is scheduled to make a speech there at the Akademgorodok center about the importance of education in a democratic society.
She plans to end her trip with a two-day stay in the Ukrainian city of Lviv from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18.
The White House says Mrs. Clinton will make a speech at the Opera House summarizing the major themes of her trip. and will also make a public statement at the Ghetto Monument honoring Jews and other Lviv victims of the Second World War. Before leaving for Washington, the First Lady will also visit the Lviv Oblast Clinical Hospital.