Kerry holds talks with Saudi king as Iraq falls deeper in turmoil

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Saudi Arabia to discuss the situation in Iraq and Syria

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Saudi Arabia Friday and met with senior officials in the kingdom including Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, amid the growing turmoil in neighboring Iraq.

“The king and Kerry discussed the latest developments in the region in addition to the overall developments at the international arenas,” according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Kerry’s visit comes only a day after the Saudi king ordered “all measures” be taken to safeguard the kingdom in light of the developments in Iraq where the Shiite-led government of Nouri al-Maliki is facing a growing insurgency by Sunni militants spearheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

Earlier, Kerry met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal to discuss the turmoil in Iraq as well as the civil war in Syria.

On Thursday, the U.S. official also hosted urgent talks in Paris with the Saudi, Jordanian and UAE foreign ministers to discuss the widening crisis in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic militants, who have captured a swathe of northern Iraq, have also seized territory in neighboring Syria where they are fighting both the moderate Syrian opposition, led by Ahmad al-Jarba, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
During his short visit to Saudi Arabia, Kerry held talks with Jarba, who told the U.S. official that the insurgents' march across the porous border between Syria and Iraq had created confusion in the region.

He also said the war against terrorism must be stronger than ever

Kerry said the moderate rebels would be crucial in the cross-border fight against ISIS.

The White House is seeking to send $500 million to the increasingly moderate armed opposition in Syria which is facing two fronts in the protracted war there.

(With The Associated Press)

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