John Kerry Makes First Trip Overseas As Secretary Of State

John Kerry has embarked on his first trip overseas as the United States Secretary of State.

Kerry’s first trip will be a listening tour, though he will likely give his thoughts on Syria, Iran, and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The centerpiece of the former vice president’s European tour will be a visit to Rome, reports Reuters. Once there, he is hoping to meet with members of Syria’s opposition, as well as a group of nations working to support them.

The opposition has spent almost two years trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But before that, Kerry will talk with allies in London, Berlin, and Paris.

The talks with the Syrian Opposition are in question after the body announced on Saturday they no longer wanted to participate. One of the group’s members cited a lack of interest from the world for Syria’s bloody civil war.

An official spoke with reporters traveling with Kerry, saying:

“The Syrian opposition leadership is under severe pressure now from its membership, from the Syrian people, to get more support from the international community and in that context there’s quite a bit of internal discussion about the value of going to international conferences.”

Kerry has expressed his interest in discussing new ways to get Assad to step down from power, according to The Boston Globe.

Along with the Syria conflict, Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit will focus on the conflicts in Mali and Afghanistan, as well as Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

His trip will also take him to Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Despite being in the Middle East, the newly-confirmed Secretary of State will not travel to Israel of the Palestinian territories. Instead, he will visit the region when he accompanies President Barack Obama there next month.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]