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US envoy Kerry heads for Moscow, EU capitals

Published on 13/07/2016

US Secretary of State John Kerry left Washington on Wednesday for a tour of European capitals focused on efforts to end the chaos in Syria and other hot spots.

The most closely watched part of Kerry’s trip will be Thursday’s talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin and on Friday with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

These will focus on the conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and the Azerbaijani region of Nagorny-Karabakh as Kerry battles to keep Moscow on board faltering international efforts to resolve them.

But Washington’s top diplomat will first head to Paris to celebrate the Bastille Day national holiday with French officials, and afterwards go to Brussels and Luxembourg.

Then on Tuesday he will be the first senior US official to visit the new government in London after Theresa May is sworn in as prime minister to lead Britain out of the EU.

The visit was planned before it became clear that May was taking over from outgoing premier David Cameron, and will focus on multilateral talks on the wars in Syria and Yemen.