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Article updated: 2/25/2013 7:54 AM

Kerry opens first official overseas trip in London

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, walks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague as they leave Downing Street in London, Monday. Kerry has kicked off his first official overseas trip by meeting with British leaders in London on the first leg of a hectic nine-day dash through Europe and the Middle East.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, walks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague as they leave Downing Street in London, Monday. Kerry has kicked off his first official overseas trip by meeting with British leaders in London on the first leg of a hectic nine-day dash through Europe and the Middle East.

 

Associated Press

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By Associated Press

LONDON -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry kicked off his first official overseas trip by meeting Monday with British leaders in London, the first leg of a hectic nine-country dash through Europe and the Middle East.

Kerry's first diplomatic meeting abroad came with British Prime Minister David Cameron, where they discussed the prospects of a free-trade agreement between the United States and the European Union and the importance of the Middle East peace process.

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Cameron's spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, said the prime minister and Kerry also "reiterated their shared determination to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran" ahead of talks between world leaders and Tehran in Almaty, Kazakhstan, this week.

The two also spoke about the challenges posed by fragile states such as Syria, Libya and Egypt, the spokesman added.

Later, Kerry is expected to discuss the Falkland Islands with U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague before flying to Germany for meetings in Berlin.

Kerry arrived on London late Sunday as the Obama administration launched a frantic effort to try to salvage a Syrian opposition conference that Kerry plans to attend this week in Rome. Some members of the sharply divided Syrian Opposition Council are threatening to boycott the meeting.

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