Kerry to visit Vatican

Washington, Jan 14: US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to the Vatican City Tuesday for talks on issues including the Middle East peace process with an aide to Pope Francis, the state department said.

Kerry will meet Vatican’s Secretary of State Pietro Parolin “to discuss foreign policy priorities including Pope Francis’ vocal leadership on the Middle East peace process, poverty and humanitarian issues”, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a press briefing.

In his Christmas message in 2013, Pope Francis called for peace in Syria and prayed for fruitful outcome to peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

“The US values the Vatican’s vital role globally, leading on international issues and peace efforts,” Psaki said.

Kerry is the first Catholic US Secretary of State since Edmund Muskie, who served president Jimmy Carter from 1980 to 1981.

After the visit, Kerry will travel to Kuwait for a donors’ conference on the crisis in Syria.