WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry headed to the Middle East yesterday, aiming to shore up decades-old alliances with Egypt and Saudi Arabia left frayed by the turbulence sweeping the region.
Egyptian state media said he would visit Cairo today for the first time since Washington froze part of its $1.5bn in annual aid, angered by the bloodshed and lack of democratic progress since the July ouster of president Mohammed Mursi.
It would come just a day before Islamist leader Mursi, the country’s first democratically elected president, is due to go on trial on charges of inciting the murder of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.
US officials said he would arrive in Saudi Arabia some time today, where he also faces tough talks with the kingdom’s leaders.
Kerry’s 17th trip since becoming secretary of state in February will also take him to Poland, Israel, Bethlehem, Jordan, the UAE, Algeria and Morocco, and he is due to return to Washington on November 12.