Globe-trotting Clinton reaches 100-country mark

Jun 28, 2012, 2:13 PM

Associated Press

RIGA, Latvia (AP) – Hillary Rodham Clinton made history Thursday, and marked it, too.

She set a frequent-flier record for U.S. secretaries of state when she touched down in her 100th country and she commemorated the strong stand that one of her predecessors had taken against Soviet expansion.

The globe-trotting Clinton hit the century mark when she stepped off her Air Force Boeing 757 plane in Latvia’s capital, Riga. No other secretary of state has visited more than 96 countries while in office, according to the State Department.

The previous record-holder was Madeleine Albright, the top U.S. diplomat during President Bill Clinton’s second term.

In 3 1/2 years on the job, Clinton has logged 70 trips to countries from Afghanistan to Zambia, the department said. She has spent 337 days on the road, including more than 1,750 hours, or more than 73 days, on her Air Force 757, according to the department.

Counting her trips abroad as first lady, Clinton has now represented the United States in 122 countries, according to her staff.

Clinton, who first visited Riga with her husband in 1994, was in Latvia on the second stop of a four-nation European swing. She visited Finland on Wednesday and plans later stops in St. Petersburg, Russia, and then Geneva, where she will attend an international conference aimed at ending the crisis in Syria.

In Riga, Clinton met Latvian officials and dedicated a street in front of the U.S. Embassy in honor of former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles. In 1940, he issued what became known as the Welles Declaration, which set out Washington’s refusal to recognize the Soviet Union’s takeover of the Baltic States _ Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

“We were proud never to have wavered in supporting the independence of Latvia and the Latvian people, and we are proud now to be a partner of a free Latvia,” Clinton said before meeting the country’s prime minister.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Globe-trotting Clinton reaches 100-country mark