john-kerryWASHINGTON: The U.S. secretary of state will be in Ottawa on Tuesday, expressing condolences for the deaths last week of two Canadian soldiers.

John Kerry will attend a series of meetings in the nation’s capital, and a spokeswoman says he intends to use the occasion to address the tragic consequences of the recent attacks in Quebec and on Parliament Hill.

“He will also express America’s solidarity with the Canadian people, reaffirming the close friendship and alliance between our countries,” Jen Psaki said during Monday’s State Department briefing in Washington.

“The secretary will emphasize steadfast U.S. support for our Canadian partners.”

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was fatally shot Wednesday while standing sentry at the National War Memorial before his attacker, Michael Zehaf Bibeau, was himself killed in a dramatic shootout in the halls of the Parliamentary Buildings.

Two days earlier in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed and another soldier was injured when they were struck by a car driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, an attacker with known jihadist sympathies.

A Canadian release said Kerry and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will discuss the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the situation in Ukraine and the issue of border management.

It also said they would also discuss North American energy co-operation.

Kerry’s department is leading the U.S. review into the Keystone XL pipeline project, where repeated delays have caused friction between the two national governments. Canadian officials are quietly hoping that Congress might force Kerry and the White House to approve the pipeline.

Details of the trip were organized in the last few days. According to officials from both countries, they were still being finalized Monday.

“President Obama and Secretary Kerry were among the first people to reach out to Canada during the horrific events of last week,” Baird said in a statement.

“I am grateful that Secretary Kerry will visit Ottawa and stand by Canadians as we mourn the loss of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and as we move forward in pursuit of our shared values.”


© 2014 The Canadian Press