Syrian FM arrives in Beirut for talks to boost ties 2008-07-21 16:16:07   Print

    BEIRUT, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem arrived in Beirut on Monday and is now heading for the presidential palace for talks with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, local NTV reported.

    The visit, the first official one to Lebanon by a senior Syrian official since the assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri in early 2005, came less than 10 days after the two neighbors announced that they had agreed to establish diplomatic ties.

    Muallem is expected to deliver an official message from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Suleiman, inviting him to visit Damascus, said Syria's independent Arabic newspaper al-Watan Sunday.

    If Suleiman accepts the invitation, it would be his first visitto Syria since taking office late May.

    Muallem would also discuss the exchange of diplomatic representation between the two countries, the report said, adding that "it is hoped that this visit will mark a new phase of Syrian-Lebanese relations."

    Muallem's visit was agreed upon during a meeting between Assad and Suleiman in Paris earlier this month.

    On July 12, the two heads of state announced after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy that they have agreed to establish diplomatic ties and open embassies in each other's territory.

Editor: Du Guodong
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