US Secretary of State holds talks on Syria, Iran in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH (AP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Saudi Arabia for talks with Saudi and Gulf Arab officials expected to focus on the crisis in Syria and fears about Iran's nuclear program.

Mr Kerry was meeting in Riyadh on Monday with the foreign ministers of Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, as well as the Saudi crown prince and foreign minister.

Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf states are believed to be involved in shipping weapons to Syrian rebels, who have yet to receive lethal aid from the West. They share deep US concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions and increasing assertiveness in the region.

In Riyadh, Mr Kerry will also be meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is visiting the Saudi capital.

Mr Kerry's working lunch with Mr Abbas comes just two weeks before he is to accompany President Barack Obama to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan to explore ways of restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Mr Kerry is in Saudi Arabia as part of his nine-nation maiden overseas trip as secretary of state. He travels next to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar before returning to Washington on Wednesday.

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