The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has arrived in Syria for a two-day visit that the White House has criticized as undermining U.S. policy.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem met Pelosi at Damascus airport. She is to meet President Bashar Assad and other Syrian officials on Wednesday.
The Bush administration says Pelosi's trip to Syria is a bad idea. Washington says Syria has been supporting terrorism by allowing foreign fighters to enter Iraq through its territory. Syria also supports the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah.
Pelosi has said it is important to hold a dialogue with Syria. She says she will discuss the fight against terrorism and the role Syria can play to help that goal.
Pelosi, a Democrat, is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Syria in years.
The bipartisan Iraq Study Group said the U.S. should open a dialogue with Syria, but President Bush has refused to do so.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.