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On way to Iraq, Schwarzenegger to speak in Jerusalem [Updated]

November 13, 2009 | 10:20 am

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is stopping in Jerusalem to participate in a moderated conversation at a Middle East policy conference Sunday before heading to Iraq next week, an aide said today.

Schwarzenegger will speak at a forum sponsored by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which former President Clinton, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are slated to attend.

The policy group, which is affiliated with the Brookings Institution, was endowed with the help of entertainment mogul Haim Saban, who is close to Schwarzenegger and has donated to his political causes. Saban's wife, Cheryl Saban, recently spoke at the women's conference organized by the governor's wife, Maria Shriver.

Schwarzenegger will speak about the environment, green jobs and "how we can't just wait on federal government and countries to engage in the environmental effort," said spokesman Matt David. He is also expected to sign some kind of mutual cooperation agreement with the Israeli government.

The governor will then travel to Iraq to meet U.S. troops and may stop in his home city of Graz, Austria, on the way back to the United States, David said.

The trip is to be paid for by the California Protocol Foundation, a nonprofit group affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce that raises most of its money from corporations that support the governor.

[Updated at 10:38 a.m.: In a previous version of this post, the headline read that Schwarzenegger would be giving a Middle East speech. He will be speaking on a panel about the environment.]   

-- Michael Rothfeld in Sacramento