Kerry was to attend a joint meeting with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir and other Foreign Ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

He will also hold talks with King Salman and his powerful son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the Defence Minister.

Saudi Arabia and some of its allies cut diplomatic ties with Iran this month after protesters there burned Riyadh's embassy in Tehran and a consulate in the second city of Mashhad.

The violence against Riyadh's missions occurred after the kingdom executed dissident Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a driving force behind anti-government protests.

Kerry has long sought to reassure his Gulf allies about the overtures to Iran, and will continue those efforts in Riyadh.

During his one-day stop, Kerry is also to meet Riad Hijab, general coordinator of Syria's largest opposition coalition, ahead of UN-brokered peace talks planned with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

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