Report: Syria's al-Assad to meet Saudi King
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will visit Saudi Arabia this week for a summit that would be further sign of the thaw in relations between the countries, a Saudi-funded daily reported Tuesday, DPA reported.
Unnamed officials told the daily al-Sharq al-Awsat that Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Damascus would return home Tuesday to prepare for al-Assad's meeting with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz the following day.
The visit would follow Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal's visit to Damascus last week.
Saudi-Syrian relations were strained by Saudi Arabia's support for the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, and deteriorated further following the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, who had close financial and political ties to Saudi Arabia.
A report into that assassination from UN investigator Deltev Mehlis implicated "senior Lebanese and Syrian officials" in Hariri's murder, charges Syria has repeatedly denied.
Saudi Arabia and Syria support rival political parties in Lebanon.
Al-Assad's visit could pave the way for a trilateral summit between al-Assad, Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak in Cairo, al-Sharq al-Awsat said, citing diplomatic sources.
Syria's alliance with Iran and its support for the Palestinian group Hamas have also troubled Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have expressed concern over Iran's controversial nuclear programme.