Mahmud Ahmedinejad (right) welcomes Bashar al-Assad
Al-Assad has met with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and
other officials to talk about what were being described by Syria's official news
agency as their countries' "exceptional ties."
Ahmadinejad's office posted a statement saying that al-Assad had dismissed direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as merely an effort by U.S. President Barack Obama to boost domestic support ahead of midterm elections. The remarks were not immediately confirmed by al-Assad or other sources.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem met last week with
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and al-Assad met before that with U.S.
special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell to discuss hopes for
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Obama has pursued improved relations with Damascus since early 2009.
But Reuters has quoted an unnamed U.S. official suggesting Washington is recently concerned about "Syria's activities inside Lebanon" and its relationship with Hizballah.
compiled from Reuters and other agency reports
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