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John Kerry to make first official visit to Spain

AFP · 28 May 2015, 09:11

Published: 28 May 2015 09:11 GMT+02:00

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The top US diplomat will travel to Spain on his first visit as secretary of state to the country on May 31st and June 1st, State Department press office director Jeff Rathke told reporters on Wednesday. 

"He will meet with King Felipe VI, President Rajoy, and Foreign Minister Garcia-Margallo to discuss a range of bilateral and global issues," Rathke said.

Before heading to Spain, Kerry will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the Swiss city on Saturday. 

The two men, who last met in New York in late April, will meet as part of "the ongoing EU-coordinated P5+1 negotiations," Rathke said.

He was referring to a group of countries - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - who have been leading the talks to cut back Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Kerry's trip to Geneva will come as part of a new overseas tour which will first take him to Nigeria to attend the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as the country's new president.

And on June 2nd, Kerry will lead the US delegation to a meeting in Paris on combating the Islamic State militant group to "review progress on the full range of our shared efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL."

Earlier Wednesday, Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi said that the nuclear talks, aimed at putting an atomic bomb outside of Iran's reach, could extend beyond the June 30th deadline.

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The issue of access to military sites has emerged as a potential deal-breaker and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Paris would oppose any deal that did not allow for such inspections.

The deal is aimed at preventing Iran from developing the atomic bomb in exchange for an easing of crippling economic sanctions.

The two sides signed a framework agreement on April 2nd and began meeting in Vienna on Wednesday to start finalizing a deal which is due by June 30th.

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