John Kerry embarks on sweeping tour of Europe, Mid-East
WASHINGTON (AFP) - America's top diplomat John Kerry began his first official trip as secretary of state on Sunday, a marathon get-acquainted tour of America's closest allies in Europe and the Middle East.
Mr Kerry will visit Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar from Feb 24 to March 6. The first stop will be London, where Mr Kerry will meet with senior British officials, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Friday.
Mr Kerry travels on to Berlin where, in addition to meeting Germans, he will encounter his Russian counterpart, Mr Sergei Lavrov, for a tricky exchange at a time when Moscow and Washington are at loggerheads on many issues.
The marathon trip underscores Washington's new foreign policy imperative, which is subtly pivoting away from Asia and increasingly towards Europe.