Bashar Al-Assad

Syria's al-Assad on visit to Austria

Syria's al-Assad on visit to Austria Vienna - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met his Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer in Vienna Monday, at the start of a visit that was set focus not only on the situation in the Middle East, but also on bilateral economic ties. In his talks with Fischer, al-Assad was expected to discuss Syria's role in the region.

In an interview published Sunday in the Austrian daily Die Presse, the Syrian president said Israel has an "extremist, far-right government that does not support peace."

Syria's President al-Assad to visit Jordan Friday

Syria's President al-Assad to visit Jordan Friday Amman  - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to visit Jordan on Friday as part of ongoing efforts to repair pan-Arab ties which received a deep blow during the recent Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, the royal court announced Thursday.

Discussions between al-Assad and Jordan's King Abdullah II would focus on "ongoing efforts aimed at working out a unified Arab stand versus common challenges," the royal court said in a statement.

Saudi King Abdullah to meet with Syrian, Egyptian leaders

Hosni Mubarak and Bashar al-Assad  Cairo  - Saudi Arabian King Abdullah is to host a summit Wednesday in Riyadh with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in a bid to strengthen relations between the Arab states.

"The summit is seen as preparation for the Arab League summit in Doha," expected to be held on March 30, the official MENA news agency quoted Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki as saying.

Syrian President al-Assad: US troops in Iraq threatens neighbours

Damascus - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday spoke out against the signing of the US-Iraqi security pact, saying the presence of US troops in Iraq posed a threat to stability in the region.

"The presence of occupation forces constitutes a permanent threat to Iraq's neighbours," al-Assad told Arab parliamentarians.

The security deal being negotiated between Baghdad and Washington outlines the future of US troops in Iraq after a United Nations mandate expires at the end of this year.

Under the deal, al-Bashar said, Iraq would become "a base for attacks on its neighbours."

Iran has also indicated its opposition to the deal, calling it an "assault on the sovereignty of Iraq."

Syrian President questions Israeli peace moves

Damascus - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called into question the seriousness of Israel's efforts to make peace in the Middle East on Sunday, saying the country must prove its intentions by action.

Speaking at a gathering of Arab parliamentarians in Damascus, al- Assad said that Israel's current participation in indirect talks with Syria that are being mediated by Turkey are "just a tactic, not a strategic decision for peace."

Syria and Israel have recently held four rounds of talks through Turkish intermediaries, without significant progress.

Syria to re-establish diplomatic ties with Lebanon

Syrian President Bashar al-AssadBeirut - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued Tuesday a resolution to establish diplomatic ties with Lebanon and open a Syrian embassy in Lebanon, a Lebanese government source said.

The source said Lebanon's Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh was due to visit Damascus on Wednesday to discuss "steps to be taken" in this regard between the two neigbouring countries.

Al-Assad did not specify an exact date for the embassy's opening in Beirut, Al-Arabia television channel reported.