• Kerry readies wide-ranging European tour


    WASHINGTON: Secretary of State John Kerry sets out on a European tour, stopping in Paris for a week for a UN climate summit, before heading to a NATO meet and traveling across the continent.

    Kerry will be joining US President Barack Obama at the 12-day, 195-nation UN climate forum.

    World powers are negotiating a universal pact to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above mid-19th century levels, and lock in financial support for poor and vulnerable countries most exposed to rising seas, superstorms and crippling drought.

    Kerry is a long-time supporter of a global agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    The State Department said he will then head to Brussels on December 1 for a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting, where the Syrian and Ukrainian crises are sure to be on the agenda.

    The following day, the top US diplomat heads to Pristina, capital of Kosovo, where the US administration and particularly former president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton — remain very popular after the 1999 NATO military intervention.

    Kerry then heads to neighboring Serbia, to Belgrade for a meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council.

    It will be the first time that Kerry visits the Balkans as secretary of state.

    In another first, he will then head to Nicosia to speak with Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot leaders. The United States has long sought an end to their conflict.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

    Kerry’s last stop will be Greece, also a first for him in his current post, on December 4, for talks on the migrant crisis and Greek economic reforms.


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