10/28/2014 11:26 EDT | Updated 12/28/2014 05:59 EST

Ottawa shooting: John Kerry visit to express 'steadfast support'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial for Cpl. Nathan Cirillo when he visits Ottawa today.

Kerry is in town for bilateral meetings with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. The pair will hold a joint press conference with Baird at 1:45 p.m. ET. will carry the press conference live.

Kerry will also meet with select MPs and with Prime Minister Stephen Harper before returning to Washington.

His spokeswoman said Monday Kerry will take the opportunity to express America's solidarity with Canadians following the events of last week that led to the deaths of two Canadian soldiers.

"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," Jen Psaki said at a State Department briefing Monday where the visit was announced.

Cirillo was shot and killed while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier last Wednesday. The gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, then ran to Parliament Hill carrying a gun before being killed by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers and his security team inside Centre Block. Cirillo's funeral is today in Hamilton.

The Ottawa attack came just two days 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.

Baird issued a statement Monday 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.

Baird and Kerry last met in New York on Sept. 24 at the Transatlantic Dinner, and spoke by phone last week.

U.S President Barack Obama and Harper spoke by phone last Wednesday after the attack in Ottawa.