Kerry heads to Saudi Arabia to repair ties with Middle East ally

Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryCongress needs to assert the war power against a dangerous president Sinclair and 'Big Media': The outrage that caused the outrage Tillerson sets a lost State Department on the right course MORE is heading to Saudi Arabia this weekend to soothe over tensions caused by increasingly divergent Middle East policies, the State Department announced Thursday.

Saudi leaders in recent days have publicly criticized the Obama administration for limiting its assistance to Syria's rebels and reducing U.S. support for the Egyptian military. Saudi Arabia is particularly worried that the administration is drawing closer to Iran, its top regional rival.

Kerry will “reaffirm the strategic nature of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, given the importance of the work between our two countries on shared challenges, and the leadership Saudi Arabia provides for the region,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The secretary will then head to Poland, Israel and the West Bank, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, Algeria and Morrocco during the eight-day trip. In Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Kerry will discuss progress on the two-state peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and the administration's diplomatic talks on Iran's nuclear program. 

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