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John Kerry leaves for first trip as Secretary of State

February 24, 2013, 2:10 UTC+3

The US Secretary of State John Kerry is leaving for his first trip abroad as head of the American foreign authority

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WASHINGTON, February 24 (Itar-Tass) – The US Secretary of State John Kerry is leaving for his first trip abroad as head of the American foreign authority. His programme includes a meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

During the trip, which will last to March 6, Kerry will visit the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Earlier, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State Victoria Nuland said in every of those countries Kerry plans to discuss bilateral and international problems. Among the latter, the US highlights the situation in Syria. This topic will be on the agenda of the meeting in Rome with leaders of the Syrian opposition. The meeting will feature representatives of several countries, which are supporting most actively the opposition in Syria.

Washington plans the topic will be among the key ones also during the meeting between Kerry and Lavrov, which is due on February 26 in Berlin. Speaking about the meeting, Nuland said the parties would discuss a wide range of bilateral and international issues. Later on, however, she specified that the US was going to focus also on the Syrian problem. She explained the US had been speaking about the desire to cooperate in order to persuade the sides in the conflict to start negotiations and a political transition period.

Moscow, in its turn, plans to raise the issue of adopted children. Envoy of the Russian Foreign Ministry for human rights, democracy and supremacy of law Konstantin Dolgov said the topic of the death in Texas of Maxim Kuzmin of three, who had been adopted by an American family, would be a key topic of the discussions in Berlin.

Kerry took the office of the Secretary of State on February 1. Over under a month’s time, he had two telephone conversations with Lavrov. Their first conversation was in early February, and, Nuland said, was devoted to development of the bilateral relations, and to international issues, including the situation in Syria and the situation in Iran. Among other matters, they agreed to cooperate on a maximum wide range of issues, but at the same time to be speaking openly in case of any discrepancies, she said.

The second telephone conversation was several days earlier. Lavrov and Kerry agreed to exert the influence of their countries upon participants in the Syrian conflict to favour peaceful settlement in that country. Besides, they discussed the work at the UN Security Council on drafting the response measures to the DPRK’s recent nuclear test, Nuland said. During that conversation, the Russian Foreign Minister and the American Secretary of State agreed to adjust their schedules to organise a one-to-one meeting.

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