DAMASCUS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is scheduled to pay a two-day work visit to France on Thursday, during which he will meet with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy and other French officials, the official SANA news agency reported.
In a statement to the Syrian daily al-Watan on Thursday, Sarkozy said Assad's visit to France will advance dialogue between the two countries, expressing happiness to receive Assad for the second time and after ten months of the last meeting in Damascus.
The Syrian president visited Paris in July 2008, followed by two visits of Sarkozy to Damascus in September 2008 and January 2009.
Sarkozy added that the talks with Assad will deal with the Middle East peace process and the situation in Iraq and Lebanon.
In a statement to SANA, French Ambassador to Syria Eric Chevallier said Assad's visit to France is very important, "it paves the way for a new era of bilateral relations in light of the common will to give a new momentum to the Syrian-French relations, based on historic roots."
Trade volume between the two countries during the first half of2009 increased to 197 million euros, compared to 182 million euros during the same period in 2008.