Albright Meets Syrian President in Riyadh to Review Middle East Peace
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright held talks Wednesday in Saudi Arabia with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss the results of the Middle East summit, and to press for Hizbollah to be reined in, a US official said.
The meeting took place at the guest palace in Riyadh where Assad is staying during a two-day trip to the Saudi kingdom, the official said.
Before the meeting began, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward Walker told reporters: "This will be an opportunity for the secretary to discuss the state of affairs in the region, and the result of the Sharm el-Sheikh conference and to take up our deep concerns about the Hezbollah and its activities recently."
Albright and Assad both arrived in Riyadh after an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire deal at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit and before an upcoming Arab summit in the Egyptian capital.
Walker declined to be more specific about what Albright would discuss with Assad, but a senior US official said she would press him hard on restraining Hizbollah.
The group kidnapped three Israeli soldiers on October 7, ratcheting up tension in the region as violence in the Palestinian territories flared, and Sunday on the eve of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit announced the capture of an Israeli reservist colonel.
Meanwhile, the Syrian President will make a brief working visit to Jordan on Wednesday for talks with King Abdullah II on the latest developments in the region, a palace official said.
He is due in late afternoon for talks and dinner with Abdullah and will depart for Syria in the evening, the official added.
It will be Assad's first visit to Jordan since he was elected in July to succeed his late father, Hafez Assad.
The visit coincides with calls from Damascus for a "strong Arab front" against Israel following the spiral of violence that as rocked the Palestinian territories since September 28 – (AFP)
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