Blinken to head back to European allies after Biden trip

19 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will head back to Europe next week days after President Joe Biden's first trip, further cultivating ties with allies France, Germany and Italy and taking up hotspots including Libya.

The State Department announced Friday that the top US diplomat will spend a week in Europe that will include talks with two of the continent's key leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, reports AFP.

Blinken will begin his visit in Berlin with participation Wednesday in an international conference on Libya, which is inching toward stability after a decade of war with elections planned for December 24.

Both Germany and France had rocky ties with Biden's mercurial predecessor Donald Trump, who berated Europeans on trade, defense and immigration policy.

The trip by Blinken -- a fluent French speaker who grew up partly in Paris -- will be the first to France by a senior member of the Biden administration.

Blinken will seek progress on another major global issue in Rome as he joins Italy in leading a conference of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group, which has branched out in Africa as well as Afghanistan after being decimated in Syria.