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Kerry Trip Comes at Critical Time for Syria Peace Talks

FILE - Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department in Washington, Feb. 29, 2016.

Syria’s crisis will be among the focal points for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is traveling to Saudi Arabia and France.

Kerry’s talks with senior government officials in Saudi Arabia Friday and Saturday will come as the U.N. makes plans to resume “substantive” proximity talks between the Syrian regime and opposition about a political transition in the country.

However, the opposition High Negotiations Committee has been sending mixed signals on whether it intends to return to the talks in Geneva Monday. The group has cited concerns about what it says are Syrian government violations of a cessation of hostilities that took effect in late February.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are among the 17 nations that are part of the International Syria Support Group, which has been backing plans for a political transition.

The State Department said Yemen will be another focal point for Kerry while in Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

From Hafar al Batin, Saudi Arabia, Kerry travels to Paris.

The State Department says he will discuss bilateral, regional and global issues with his French, British, German and Italian counterparts, as well as EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.