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Israeli President Greets Syrian, Iranian Leaders at Pope's Funeral


Israeli President Moshe Katsav has shaken hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as both attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II in Rome.

Israel Radio reports Iranian-born President Katsav also spoke in his native Farsi with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. The radio says the two spoke about the Iranian town where they were both born.

Syria is officially at war with Israel and Iran does not recognize the Jewish state.

Israel Radio says after the funeral, the Syrian leader approached the Israeli president for a second time and again shook his hand. Syria has recently made peace overtures to Israel, but Israeli officials have demanded that Syria first pull out of Lebanon and stop its support of radical Palestinian groups.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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