Kerry to visit Europe, Mideast on first foreign trip

Updated: 2013-02-20 04:55


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WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Europe and the Middle East next week for his first foreign trip since taking over the reins at the State Department earlier the month, the Department announced Tuesday.

From February 24 to March 6, Kerry will travel to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

During his stay in London, Kerry will meet with senior British officials "to discuss the range of bilateral and global issues on which we are closely coordinating," Nuland said.

He then will visit Germany to hold bilateral meetings with German officials on issues of mutual interest, as well as make a number of public appearances, including an exchange of views with German young people on the state of European-American relations.

"His visit to Berlin will also be an opportunity to reconnect with the city in which he lived as a child," Nuland said.

After visiting Germany, Kerry will travel to Paris to hold talks with senior French officials "to discuss our ongoing cooperation as part of the international effort to support Mali, as well as other issues of regional and global importance."

In Rome, Kerry will meet with senior Italian officials and participate in a number of bilateral and multilateral meetings with US European allies "to review the wider trans-Atlantic relationship and to discuss issues of global concern."

Kerry will also participate in multilateral meetings on Syria, and with the leadership of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, Nuland said.

The top US diplomat will then travel to Ankara, where he will meet with Turkish officials to discuss our strategic priorities from ending the crisis in Syria to promoting regional stability, peace, and security  as well as explore areas to deepen US- Turkey bilateral cooperation, including counterterrorism cooperation.

In Cairo, Kerry will meet with senior Egyptian officials, other political leaders, civil society leaders, and the business community "to encourage greater political consensus and moving forward on economic reforms," Nuland said, adding that Kerry will also meet with Arab League Secretary General Al-Araby to discuss many shared challenges across the region.

In Riyadh, Kerry will meet with the Saudi leadership to discuss bilateral cooperation on a broad range of shared concerns, and participate in a ministerial meeting with counterparts from Gulf Cooperation Council nations.

Following his visit to the United Arab Emirates, Kerry will conclude his first foreign trip in Doha, Qatar, where he will meet with Qatari leadership to discuss bilateral and regional issues of concern, such as the ongoing crisis in Syria, Afghanistan, and Middle East peace, Nuland said.