Kerry calls Israeli President, counterparts in other countries

Secretary of State John Kerry has discussed bilateral and regional issues with Israeli President Shimon Peres and other counterparts.

Updated: Feb 03, 2013, 23:11 PM IST

Washington: In his first few foreign calls to world leaders as the top US diplomat, Secretary of State John Kerry has discussed bilateral and regional issues with Israeli President Shimon Peres and counterparts in Turkey, Canada and Mexico.
Kerry, 69, who was sworn in as the US Secretary of State yesterday made his first phone call to Israeli President Shimon Peres, whom he`s known since he was a freshman Senator. The phone calls were made yesterday.
"Peres congratulated the Secretary on his appointment and briefed him on the ongoing discussions in Israel on the formation of a new government. They also exchanged views on the Middle East peace process and regional issues," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, said.

In his call with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Kerry discussed with him the latest terrorist attack at the US Embassy in Ankara and the ongoing investigations.

"Secretary thanked him for the excellent bilateral cooperation following Friday`s terrorist attack on the US embassy in Ankara," Nuland said.

"Davutoglu updated the Secretary on the ongoing investigation into the attack, and both leaders underscored the vital importance of the strongest possible counter-terrorism cooperation. They also exchanged views on the situation in Syria and on broader Middle East issues," she said, adding that Kerry commended recent progress on the Halki Seminary and urged further efforts to resolve outstanding issues.

In his phone call with his Canadian counterpart, John Baird, the two leaders agreed to work closely together on a broad range of issues, including support for Arab Spring countries, maintaining international unity on Iran, the situations in Syria and in Mali and the need to redouble global counter-terrorism efforts.

"They also agreed to stay in touch on the Keystone pipeline," she said.

In his call with Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade, Kerry expressed condolences for the Pemex incident and offered any desired assistance.

"They discussed our thriving bilateral relationship, the Merida Initiative and their shared commitment to continue to broaden the bilateral economic and trade relationship and North American integration," Nuland said.

Earlier yesterday, Kerry had lunch with former Secretary of State George Shultz to draw on his experience under former US President Ronald Reagan and to seek his advice on a broad range of global issues as he begins his tenure, the spokesperson said.

Teresa Heinz Kerry also had lunch with Mrs Shultz, a long time friend, Nuland said.

"Secretary Kerry has now met with or spoken by phone with each living Secretary of State, Democrat and Republican, since being announced as President Obama`s nominee," she said.