Kerry Heads Out on 1st Trip

'Listening tour' centers on Syria solution, will hit 9 nations

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Feb 24, 2013 10:36 AM CST

(Newser) – Secretary of State John Kerry is off and racking up the frequent flier miles, embarking on his first official overseas voyage in a diplomatic mission to bring new ideas to European capitals and the Middle East on how to end nearly two years of brutal violence in Syria. Kerry today began a grueling nine-nation, 10-day trip that will take him to traditional western European allies of Britain, Germany, France, and Italy, along with Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. In addition to Syria, he will focus on conflicts in Mali and Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear program.

A look at what he's up to:

  • Kerry begins his trip in London where he will see senior British officials on issues ranging from Afghanistan to the status of the Falkland Islands, over which Britain is in a major dispute with Argentina.
  • In Germany, Kerry will discuss trans-Atlantic issues with German youth in Berlin, where he spent time as a child as the son of an American diplomat. He will also meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
  • In Paris, Kerry will discuss France's ongoing intervention in Mali.
  • In Rome, he'll attend a meeting with Syrian opposition leaders.
  • Notably absent from the itenerary: Israel. Kerry will wait to visit when he accompanies President Obama there in March.

US Secretary of State John Kerry boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to London in his inaugural trip as secretary on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.
US Secretary of State John Kerry boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to London in his inaugural trip as secretary on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Pool, Jacquelyn Martin)
US Secretary of State John Kerry boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base en route to London in his inaugural trip as secretary on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.
US Secretary of State John Kerry boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base en route to London in his inaugural trip as secretary on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Pool, Jacquelyn Martin)
In this Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department.
In this Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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