BAGHDAD, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Iraq's Prime Minister
Nuri al-Maliki is holding talks with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid
al-Muallem on Monday after the top Syrian diplomat called U.S. troops to
withdraw from Iraq.
Iraq's Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshiyar
Zebari (R) and visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem hold
a press conference in Baghdad November 19, 2006.(Xinhua/Reuters
Maliki and Muallem are discussing a range of issues,
including U.S. charges that Syria has failed to prevent militants from crossing
the border into Iraq to fuel the insurgency.
Muallem, who arrived in Baghdad on Sunday afternoon,
is the highest ranking Syrian official to visit since the U.S.-ouster of Saddam
Hussein in 2003 and a major step toward restoring diplomatic relations.
On Sunday, Muallem met his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar
Zebari and called for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops, saying
it would bring "stability for Iraq" during a news conference held after their
He also urged Iraqis to work to rebuild unity, saying
Syria "will back the country's political process and is ready to offer all help
required in maintaining the unity of Iraq."
For his part, Zebari said that Muallem's visit would open "anew page in relations between the two countries." The Syrian foreign minister is also expected to meet Iraqi President Jalal Talabani during his visit in the war-torn country.