Tillerson off to Europe on 1st trip amid disarray at home

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is heading to Germany this week on his first trip abroad as America’s top diplomat, the State Department said Tuesday.

Tillerson departs on Wednesday for a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 world powers in Bonn on Thursday and Friday amid disarray in the Trump administration’s national security team and European concerns over U.S. priorities on the continent as well as its commitments to NATO and other international organizations.

The State Department said that in addition to participating in large G20 sessions, Tillerson will also meet separately with counterparts from Britain, Saudi Arabia and Oman and participate in talks on Syria and Yemen. Additional meetings are also expected, although the department would not confirm a widely anticipated meeting between Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Tillerson, who hopes to calm nervousness about the Trump administration’s policies, will have his work cut out for him as he will almost certainly face questions about the abrupt resignation of Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. Flynn stepped down on Monday for misleading White House officials about the substance of conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

The G-20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, France, Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the U.S. and European Union.

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