Middle East

Kerry in Riyadh for Gulf talks on Iran, Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in his palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday, March 3, 2013. Saudi Arabia is the seventh leg of Kerry's first official overseas trip. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

RIYADH: US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Saudi capital on Sunday for talks with the Gulf monarchies on Iran and the deadly conflict roiling Syria.

Kerry, on his first trip to the region since taking over as the top US diplomat, was to dine with foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the group of six Gulf monarchies including Saudi Arabia.

On Monday he will hold separate talks with each GCC nation.

"We thank Kerry for America's commitment with regard to the security of the region and we will share our concerns about the relationship with Iran and the developments in Syria," Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled al-Khalifa said at a news conference after meeting with his five GCC counterparts.

Several oil-rich monarchies of the GCC, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have supported the rebellion inside Syria, while Iran has steadfastly backed President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Kerry arrived in Riyadh after a two-day visit to Cairo where he urged Egyptian political factions to bury their differences and unite in order to help revive the country's sliding economy.

After Riyadh Kerry will head to Abu Dhabi on Monday and later to Qatar.





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