Kerry to make long-delayed first visits to Algeria, Morocco
AMMAN - US Secretary of State John Kerry will make long-delayed visits to Algeria and Morocco next week, his spokeswoman said on Wednesday, marking his first trips to both countries.
The top US diplomat will first travel to Algiers for meetings with top Algerian officials ahead of similar talks in Morocco, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Kerry had originally planned to visit both countries late last year, but had to change his schedule at the last minute.
The trip will come after a week-long visit to Europe and Saudi Arabia, during which he arrived Wednesday on a surprise visit to Amman to meet with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the hopes of keeping Middle East peace talks on track.
While in Algiers, Kerry will also co-chair the US-Algeria Strategic Dialogue with Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, Psaki said in a statement.
The dialogue, launched in October 2012, covers a range of bilateral and regional issues, "including political and security developments, boosting economic ties, and strengthening civil society," Psaki said.
While in Rabat, Kerry will co-chair the US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue with Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar.
He will also meet with senior Moroccan officials "to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues".
Psaki did not give precise dates for the visits but said Kerry's trip, which also takes him to Brussels to join NATO talks on the crisis in Ukraine, will span April 1-5.