Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 18:58 pm (KSA) 15:58 pm (GMT)

Syrian FM arrives on rare visit to Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Abdullah (R) meeting with Syrian FM Muallem upon his arrival in Riyadh
Saudi King Abdullah (R) meeting with Syrian FM Muallem upon his arrival in Riyadh

Syria's Foreign Minister arrived on a rare visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to deliver a message from President Bashar al-Assad to King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported.

Walid al-Muallem was welcomed at King Khalid International Airport by his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and a number of senior officials, the official Saudi SPA agency said.

Muallem and Faisal were set to discuss ways to bridge bilateral differences, including efforts to reconcile rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.

The trip was a sign of warming relations between the two countries after ties nosedived following the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri, a Saudi citizen and protégé, in a bombing widely blamed on Syria but denied by Damascus.

They were further strained by Israel's 22-day assault on Gaza in December. Syria sided with the Islamist movement Hamas while Saudi Arabia joined Egypt in blocking any collective Arab show of solidarity.

The two sides began mending fences last month with a meeting between Assad and King Abdullah on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Kuwait.

And earlier this month, Assad received Saudi intelligence chief Prince Meqrin bin Abdul Aziz with a message from the king on improving relations.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »