US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday announced a trip to the Mideast next week and then Asia, including a stop in Vietnam. Kerry, however, will not visit Israel.
The top US diplomat starts off in Cairo, for the US-Egypt Strategic Dialogue on Sunday.
He then goes to Doha, Qatar, to meet with foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
Kerry will also travel to the Southeast Asian city state of Singapore, where he will deliver a speech on US trade and investment.
The secretary will be traveling in the aftermath of the deal signed by the P5+1 powers with Iran two weeks ago, aimed at curbing its nuclear program. The deal is bitterly opposed by the Israeli government as paving the Iranian path to the bomb and giving the regime in Tehran tens of billions in sanctions relief.
Kerry has accused Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of going “way over the top” in his criticisms. Netanyahu is bidding to persuade Congress to reject the deal with enough votes to overcome a presidential veto.
The Zionist Union opposition said Monday that Kerry’s decision to skip Israel on a Middle East trip proved that Netanyahu’s handling of the US-Israel relationship “is not strengthening Israel’s security.” Netanyahu’s approach, it said, is “prompting the Americans to seek new allies in our region.”