Kerry to head to Middle East Sunday with full agenda

US secretary of state to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem to discuss final-status talks, among destinations in Arab world and Europe

US Secretary of State John Kerry (photo credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (photo credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

US Secretary of State John Kerry is hitting the road again. This time he’s off to the Middle East and Europe amid continuing conflict in Syria, a spat with Saudi Arabia, an uncertain Israeli-Palestinian peace process and uproar over US surveillance activities.

“In Jerusalem and Bethlehem, [Kerry] will meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials to discuss the ongoing final status negotiations as well as other regional issues of mutual concern. He will also discuss issues related to Iran with Israeli officials,” US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a press statement Thursday.

She added that Kerry would meet with senior Jordanian officials in Amman to discuss bilateral and regional issues, and would do the same in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, where he would try to ease strain over Syria and Iran.

Kerry “will reaffirm the strategic nature of the US-Saudi relationship, given the importance of the work between our two countries on shared challenges, and the leadership Saudi Arabia provides for the region,” Psaki said.

The State Department said Kerry would begin his trip on November 3. After a quick jaunt to Poland, where the controversy over alleged NSA spying is sure to be raised, Kerry would head to the Mideast for talks with Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and Emirati officials.

He is slated to wrap up the trip on November 11 in North Africa with stops in Algiers and Rabat.

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