Assad to hold talks with Saudi king
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak are planning to visit Riyadh on Wednesday for talks with Saudi King Abdullah, the official SPA news agency announced on Tuesday. "Bilateral relations... and ways of strengthening them in various fields in addition to regional and international issues of common concern" will be on the agenda, according to SPA.
Earlier this week, Qatar said an Arab mini-summit would be held to prepare the ground for the meeting of Arab League leaders on March 30 in Doha, where the Saudis hope to put on a show of unity, according to diplomats and analysts in Riyadh. According to AFP, they said Riyadh aims to line up Arab governments behind the Saudi-inspired 2002 peace initiative.
Assad's visit would mark a tentative rapprochement between Riyadh and Damascus. Relations between the two have been strained for years by Syria's close links with Iran. A few days ago, Assag was invited to Riyadh during a meeting with the visiting Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal.