Syrian President Arrives in Saudi for Talks on Middle East
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, as Syria's official radio called for a "strong Arab front" against Israel.
Assad's trip was part of "Syrian efforts to build a strong and uniform Arab front, which would mobilise all the (Arab) nation's means against Zionist arrogance," the radio said.
King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz greeted Assad at Riyadh airport's VIP terminal.
Bilateral relations would also be on the agenda.
The visit coincides with the end of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in Egypt to try to halt the violence between Israel and the Palestinians and comes ahead of an Arab summit set for Cairo on October 21-22.
It is the Syrian leader's second foreign trip since taking over from his father in July, following a visit to Egypt at the beginning of this month.
Syria's official newspaper Ath-Thawra Tuesday proposed in an editorial that a tripartite summit be held grouping Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to take a "firm stance" ahead of the Arab summit.
Syria's official press has been strongly critical of the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting, seeing it as a ruse to pre-empt the Arab summit and of use only to Israel.
Meanwhile, a US embassy source said US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would visit Saudi Arabia later Tuesday, following the emergency Middle East summit in Egypt.
Albright, who accompanied President Bill Clinton to the Sharm el-Sheikh summit would meet Saudi leaders, the source said -- RIYADH (AFP)
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