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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to visit Ottawa Tuesday

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Ottawa on Tuesday for bilateral meetings but also to personally express his condolences over the attacks last week that killed two Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and in Quebec.

Kerry will express his condolences over the killing of two Canadian soldiers last week

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Ottawa Tuesday for bilateral meetings and to express solidarity with Canadians following last week's events. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Ottawa on Tuesday for bilateral meetings but also to personally express his condolences over the events last week that led to the deaths of two Canadian soldiers.

The State Department announced Kerry's planned trip Monday at its daily briefing in Washington, D.C.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry will convey his condolences to senior Canadian officials following last week's attacks. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed while guarding the National War Memorial on Wednesday and the gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau then ran to Parliament Hill and burst into the Hall of Honour carrying a gun.

He was killed by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers and his security team.

The Ottawa attack came soon after Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was hit by a car in a targeted hit-and-run in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec. The attacker in that incident was identified as Martin Couture-Rouleau, a suspected extremist whose passport had been seized earlier this year.

"[Kerry] will also express America's solidarity with the Canadian people, reaffirming the close friendship and alliance between our countries," Psaki said.

"The secretary will emphasize steadfast U.S. support for our Canadian partners, continued close cooperation and our shared approach to countering violent extremism and our commitment to stand beside our Canadian neighbours and friends," said Psaki.

'Allies and friends'

She was asked at the briefing if Canada and the U.S. are cooperating on the investigations into last week's events and Psaki said she's confident the incidents will be discussed but that Canada has the lead on the investigations. 

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued a statement saying he and Kerry will hold meetings on a range of bilateral and international matters. Those issues include energy security, travel and trade, and the international effort to combat ISIS, he said.

"Canada and the United States have been partners, allies and friends through good times, as well as through some of our most tragic moments in history," said Baird.

"President Obama and Secretary Kerry were among the first people to reach out to Canada during the horrific events of last week. I am grateful that Secretary Kerry will visit Ottawa and stand by Canadians as we mourn the loss of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and as we move forward in pursuit of our shared values," the statement also said.

Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke by phone last Wednesday after the attack in Ottawa.