Washington, 22 Rabiul Awwal 1434 H/3 February 2013 (MINA) – New US Secretary of State John Kerry plans to visit Israel and Egypt later this month as part of his first official overseas trip to the strategic Middle East amid the expanding foreign-led crisis in the region.
Major US news outlets quoted an unnamed official in reports on Friday and Saturday as saying that although Kerry’s full itinerary is not yet clear, in would likely include visits to Tel Aviv and Cairo in a bid to revive the long-stalled talks between the Israeli regime and a Fatah-led Palestinian faction, as well addressing the ongoing political unrest in Egypt.
Kerry was officially sworn-in as the next US Secretary of State on Friday by a Supreme Court justice, succeeding Hillary Clinton, who resigned following a four-year tenure as the top American diplomat.
The development comes as former Senator Kerry and the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in the 2004 US election expressed enthusiasm to begin his new tenure as the official US foreign policy planner but declined to comment about his first formal overseas visit.
“I’m just very, very honored to be sworn in and I’m very anxious to get to work,” Kerry told reporters after the private ceremony at the Capitol. “I’ll be reporting Monday morning at nine o’clock to do my part.”
However, some Israeli media outlets claimed that Kerry announced plans to visit Israel “immediately” after being sworn-in as secretary of state, according to PressTV reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency, (MINA), Sunday.
During his confirmation hearing, Kerry called for a US diplomacy that moves away from military deployments and assassination drone attacks “thrust upon us” by September 11.
“President Obama and everyone here knows that American foreign policy is not defined by drones and deployments alone,” Kerry said Thursday during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“American foreign policy is also defined by food security and energy security, humanitarian assistance, the fight against disease and the push for development, as much as it is by any single counter terrorism initiative,” he added.
On Syria, Kerry appeared to reject the Obama administration policy of regime change and when pressed by hawkish Republican Senator John McCain about intervening directly in the Middle Eastern country in support of anti-Damascus insurgents, Kerry said he needs time to better understand the situation.
Kerry did not outline a major foreign policy agenda for the US in the next four years but emphasized that “more than ever, foreign policy is economic policy,” noting that the United States must do better in the global competition for resources and markets.(T/P05/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)