Kerry to visit Europe and Middle East on first foreign trip
Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit nine nations in Europe and the Middle East as he undertakes his first foreign trip as America's top diplomat, the State Department said Wednesday.
The nine-nation 11-day trip does not include Israel, which he will visit with President Barack Obama next month.
On his maiden overseas trip as the Secretary of State, Kerry would travel from February 24 to March 6 to Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Notably the first overseas trip of his predecessor was to the Asia Pacific region.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, told reporters that Kerry would travel to the region early in his tenure.
"I think one of the things that the Secretary is interested in doing on the trip, he has characterising this first trip more broadly as a listening tour," Nuland told reporters ahead of the trip.
Besides bilateral dialogues with his foreign counterparts, Kerry is expected to focus on key regional and global challenges including Syria, democracy in the Middle Eastern and North African countries and Afghanistan.
Nuland said Kerry will kick-off his 11-day trip from London where he will meet with senior British officials to discuss the range of bilateral and global issues on which they are closely coordinating.
He will then visit Berlin where he will hold bilateral meetings 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, the spokesperson said.
Kerry will then travel to Paris with senior French officials to discuss ongoing cooperation as part of the international effort to support Mali, as well as other issues of regional and global importance.
"In Rome, Italy, he will meet with senior Italian government officials and participate in a number of bilateral and multilateral meetings with our European allies to review the wider trans-Atlantic relationship and to discuss issues of global concern," Nuland said.
"While in Rome, Secretary Kerry will participate in multilateral meetings on Syria, and with the leadership of the Syrian Opposition Coalition," she said.