John Kerry wraps up visit in Britain

Updated: 2013-02-26 01:12


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LONDON - British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague met with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry separately on Monday, as part of his first trip abroad after succeeding Hilary Clinton.

In a joint press conference after the meetings, Hague said the pair discussed a wide range of global issues with the Middle East on top of the agenda.

"There is no more urgent foreign policy priority than restarting the Middle East peace process," the British foreign secretary said.

"An appalling injustice is being done to the people of Syria which the world cannot ignore. We agreed that whilst political solution in Syria is blocked, international community has responsibility to help prevent loss of life," Hague said.

"The UK and US agree that Iran's nuclear program is a threat to the peace and security of the whole world," he added.

Hague said he and Kerry discussed Afghanistan and Britian's G8 presidency priorities, and reiterated Britian's commitment to a transatlantic Free Trade Agreement.

Reaffirming the "special relationship" between the two countries, Kerry underlined the importance of reviving the Middle East peace process.

When asked about the coming referendum in Falklands, Kerry said the US had not changed its policy, which recognizes British control over the islands while taking no position on overall sovereignty.

Kerry avoided answering a question about whether the US and Britian would rethink arming the Syrian opposition, but then said the "moment of decision" might come after an upcoming meeting on Syria in Rome.

Earlier in the day, Kerry and Cameron had held talks over breakfast. Britian is the first stop of his 11-day maiden voyage to nine countries in Europe and the Middle East.

The top American envoy, who took office on February 1 succeeding Hillary Clinton, will also visit Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.