If it's Tuesday, Clinton must be in Batumi
BATUMI, Georgia (Reuters) - If it's Tuesday, this must be Batumi.
A sunny day in early June finds U.S. Secretary of StateHillary Clinton in Georgia's Black Sea resort of Batumi, a beach town decidedly off the beaten path of high-level diplomacy.
The resort, with modern high-rise hotels contrasting with ornate, tsarist-era buildings, is the sixth stop in the seven countries that Clinton is visiting during an eight-day trip to Scandinavia, the Caucasus and Turkey.
In the final of the four years she says she will serve as secretary of state, Clinton had made time to tour the Arctic by boat, to dine inCopenhagen's Tivoli gardens and to visit this town on the Black Sea.
While renowned for her work ethic and mastery of detail, Clinton at times seems to be looking ahead to the next chapter of her life and willing to do things that she might not have done earlier in her tenure as secretary of state.
In the past few months, Clinton has gone whale-watching off the coast of Mexico, danced and drank beer at a bar in the Colombian Caribbean port of Cartagena and, inNorway on Saturday, took a two-hour cruise through the Arctic on a research trawler.
WAITING TO EXHALE
Work, however, follows her everywhere.
To take just one example, while en route toDenmark last week, Clinton called U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan from her plane to discuss the worsening crisis in Syria, in which government forces have killed more than 10,000 people, according to the United Nations.
In Copenhagen on Thursday, Clinton said she hankers to do ordinary things after two decades near the pinnacle of American politics.
"I would like to be able to just take a long walk," she told Danish students. "I'm just looking forward to exhaling and seeing what else lies ahead."
Asked if she could rule out running for U.S. president in 2016, she replied: "Yes." She unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2008 in a tough battle againstBarack Obama, who went on to win the presidency and then asked her to serve as his secretary of state.
The five nights that she spent during her current trip in Denmark, Norway andSweden - countries with which the United States has few, if any, disagreements - was an unusual expenditure of time for a U.S. secretary of state.
Swedish diplomats told their American colleagues they believed it had been more than three decades since a U.S. secretary of state had come to Sweden just for bilateral talks rather than for an international conference or wider meeting.
At each stop in Scandinavia, Clinton warmly thanked the Nordic countries, known for their commitment to aid donations and their involvement in global challenges. Aides said Clinton made the visit to show her appreciation.
She also made time for a boat ride in each country.
She spent about half an hour cruising along Copenhagen's main canal with Denmark's foreign minister, taking in everything from the city's new black glass-enclosed royal theater to its iconic "little mermaid" statue.
At Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt's invitation, she spent about four hours in meetings aboard a small luxury boat, passing red Swedish summer cottages as well as stately mansions as they cruised among theStockholm archipelago's rocky islands.
DISCUSSING SYRIA IN THE ARCTIC
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