You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Nation

Kerry begins first overseas trip as secretary of state

Secretary of State John Kerry boarded his plane at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

JACQUELYN MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry boarded his plane at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

WASHINGTON (AP) — John Kerry embarked Sunday on his first official overseas trip as secretary of state, hoping to bring new ideas to Europe and the Mideast about how to end nearly two years of violence in Syria.

Kerry’s nine-nation, 10-day trip will take him to America’s traditional European allies of Britain, Germany, France and Italy, along with Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In addition to Syria, he will focus on conflicts in Mali and Afghanistan, and on Iran’s nuclear program.

Continue reading below

Kerry has said he is eager to discuss new ways of persuading Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down and usher in a democratic transition in the country that wracked by escalating violence that has killed at least 70,000 people.

Kerry, a former Democratic senator from Massachusetts who succeeded Hillary Rodham Clinton in President Barack Obama’s second-term Cabinet, has not offered details of his ideas but officials say they revolve around increasing pressure on Assad and his inner circle.

Kerry’s first stop is London, where he will hold talks with British officials on a range of issues, from Afghanistan to the status of the Falkland Islands. Britain is in a major dispute with Argentina over the Falklands.

In German, Kerry will discuss trans-Atlantic issues with German youth in Berlin, where he spent time as a child as the son of an American diplomat posted to the divided Cold War city. He also will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the German capital.

In Paris, Kerry plans to discuss France’s intervention in Mali, while in Rome he’ll attend a meeting with Syrian opposition leaders.

Continue reading below

U.S. officials have said the trip will be primarily a ‘‘listening tour’’ when it comes to Syria and won’t result in immediate shifts in U.S. policy that has until now stayed clear of military support for the rebels fighting Assad.

Despite the numerous Middle East stops. Kerry will not travel to Israel or the Palestinian territories. He will wait to visit them when he accompanies Obama there in March.

___

Online:

Trip details: http://www.state.gov/secretary/travel/2013/205086.htm

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week