Syria's al-Assad to receive Saudi foreign minister, in sign of thaw
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is expected to host the Saudi foreign minister in Damascus Tuesday, in a further sign of thawing relations between the two countries, DPA reported.
Diplomats in Damascus said efforts to revive the Israeli- Palestinian peace process would be "near the top of the agenda" in the talks between al-Assad and Prince Saud al-Faisal.
The two would also discuss conflicts in Yemen and Iraq, and particularly Iran's roll in those conflicts, diplomats said.
Damascus, a close ally of Iran, hosts exiled leaders of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and which also has close relations with Iran.
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supporting Houthi rebels in northern Yemen, whom Saudi Arabia has fought along the ill-defined Saudi- Yemeni border, resulting in the death of at least 73 Saudis and an unknown number of rebel and civilian casualties.
Relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia soured after the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who had close financial and political ties with the Saudis.
Detlev Mehlis, the German judge commissioned by the United Nations to investigate the bombing, implicated "senior Lebanese and Syrian officials" in that killing.
But relations between the Saudis and Syria have thawed in recent months, particularly following Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz's landmark visit to Damascus in October.