Kerry set to meet with EU leaders to discuss Syria, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with senior officials in Lithuania and France over the weekend as US attempts to garner world support for a strike on Syria, along the way he will try to smooth EU-Israel relations.

September 7, 2013 10:35
1 minute read.
US Secretary of State John Kerry talking about possible US strike in Syria, August 30, 2013.

Kerry in press conference on Syria 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)

US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with senior Lithuanian officials on Saturday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria, as well as peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, according to a statement released by the US Department of State.

Lithuania currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and will be key players in the EU's actions regarding both fronts.

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The EU sided with Russia on Friday in speaking out against a military strike in Syria in response to chemical weapons allegations.

"Only a political solution can end the terrible bloodshed, grave violations of human rights and the far-reaching destruction of Syria," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said.

Kerry has been part of US President Barack Obama's national security team that has lobbied US congress for support of an airstrike on Syria. The US Secretary of State's visit to Lithuania suggests he will be interested in persuading the EU to switch allegiance to support the US in their attempt to garner backing for military action.

Kerry will also discuss the ongoing talks between Israelis and Palestinians as they search for a definitive peace agreement.

The EU has been at odds with Israel lately after publishing new guidelines which limits interaction with Israeli entities beyond the pre-1967 lines.

According to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the move 'undermines' the peace process and has lead to tensions between Israel and the EU.

In response to the EU settlement guidelines, Israel has said they are considering withdrawing from the Horizon 2020 R&D program, a global business program associated with the EU.

After meeting with Lithuanian officials, Kerry is expected to fly to Paris, France, and tomorrow he will meet with representatives from the Arab League.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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