US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Saudi Arabia on Friday for talks with King Abdullah about the crisis in Iraq.
Speaking on the sidelines of talks at NATO, Kerry announced the extra stop on his current whirlwind tour saying he would stress “the great urgency” of the conflict in Iraq and brief Saudi leaders on his visits to Baghdad and Erbil this week.
“President Obama has also asked me travel to Saudi Arabia on Friday in order to meet with his majesty King Abdullah to discuss regional issues, including clearly the situation in Iraq,” Kerry told a press conference Wednesday.
The two men would also talk about “how we can counter the sheer threat that is posed by ISIL as well as to discuss our support for the moderate opposition in Syria.”
“None of us need to be reminded that a far away threat can have tragic consequences at home in the most unexpected way, the most unexpected moment,” Kerry added.
Sunni Militants, spearheaded by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and joined by supporters of executed dictator Saddam Hussein, have overrun a large chunk of northern and north-central Iraq in the past week, although their advance has since been slowed.
Saudi officials have said the “sectarian” policies of Baghdad’s Shiite-led government are to blame for the takeover by Sunni insurgents of key cities and large swathes of the country.
Saudi media have played down the role of ISIL, designated by the Sunni-dominated kingdom as a “terrorist” organization, and highlighted the role of Sunni tribes and other armed groups in the insurgency.