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Kerry to add stop in UAE on Syria war tour

Published: Updated:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will go to the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, adding a stop to his marathon tour aimed at coordinating support for Syria's rebels, an official said.

Kerry, who arrived in Kuwait on Tuesday evening after a lightning stop in Saudi Arabia, will visit Abu Dhabi to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

He has been touring Sunni Arab states, which are mostly opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in the wake of President Barack Obama's decision to expand U.S. support for the rebels.

The United States took the decision after concluding that Assad defied warnings and used chemical weapons, but Obama remains wary of a large US involvement in an increasingly sectarian conflict that has claimed nearly 100,000 lives.

Kerry will stop in Abu Dhabi between visits to Jordan, where he will make his latest attempt to encourage the Middle East peace process, and the Southeast Asian petro-state of Brunei, where he will attend an Asian conference.

He is likely to hold tense talks in Brunei with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Russia is a key supporter of Assad and has entered a new showdown with Washington after Edward Snowden, a former contractor who leaked details of U.S. surveillance, flew to Moscow in hopes of reaching asylum in Latin America.

During his trip, Kerry also visited Qatar, a top supporter of the Syrian rebels, and India, where he pledged a new effort to build relations between the world's two largest democracies.

The Abu Dhabi crown prince visited Washington in April, where he spoke to Obama about the Syrian crisis.