US Secretary of State John Kerry was due Monday in London and Berlin on his first foreign trip since taking office this month. The trip has several stops in Europe before continuing to the Middle East and Africa.
Kerry's predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, visited a record number of countries as secretary of state during President Barack Obama's first term. Obama won a second term in November and was sworn into office in January.
Kerry was due Monday night in Berlin, where he was to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
On Tuesday in Berlin, Kerry was to meet for the first time with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the State Department said.
The meeting is to come at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow. The Kremlin has blocked efforts in the United Nations to take further action against Syria and banned US adoptions of Russian children amid criticism from Washington on Russia's human rights record.
Kerry, who left Sunday from Washington, is due to visit Paris and Rome before heading to the Middle East and North Africa.
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