Syrian President Bashar Assad has met two top advisors to French
President Nicolas Sarkozy, in the latest effort to strengthen the
countries' strained relations.
Syria's SANA news agency says the
talks in Damascus Sunday focused on bilateral ties,
developments in Lebanon and Syria's discussions with Israel. The report
says the French aides delivered President Assad a message from Mr.
Mr. Sarkozy's office called Mr. Assad's meeting with
the French Presidency's general secretary, Claude Gueant, and
diplomatic consultant, Jean-David Levitte, "useful and constructive."
cut off high-level contacts with Syria last year, accusing Damascus of
involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister
Rafiq Hariri. Syria has denied the accusations.
moved to rebuild relations after Syria helped Lebanon's political
rivals reach a deal to form a unity government last month.
has invited the Syrian president to join its national day celebrations
in Paris next month. While in Paris, Mr. Assad also will attend a
summit to launch a new Mediterranean Union.
efforts to improve relations with Syria, Mr. Sarkozy remains allied
with the United States in its concerns about Syria's involvement with
U.S. President George Bush and Mr. Sarkozy have jointly
urged Syria to break relations with Iran and end its support for
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.