US Envoy to Discuss Mideast Conflict with Syria
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs William Burns is expected to visit Syria this week to discuss the escalating Arab-Israeli conflict, a US embassy official told AFP on Tuesday.
"There is a tentative plan that he comes this week to discuss the entire range of bilateral and regional issues", the official said.
He refused to specify if the US-led campaign against terror will be on the agenda of Burns' talks in Damascus.
Other diplomatic sources said the most likely date for Burns' visit to Syria is Thursday. He is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara and possibly President Bashar al-Assad, they said.
Burns, a former US ambassador to Jordan, arrived in the region in late November along with retired Marine Corps general Anthony Zinni in a fresh bid by the United States to broker a Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire and revive their moribund peace negotiations.
Syria, who has been calling on the Palestinian uprising to continue, is on the US State Department's list of countries sponsoring terrorism because of its support for Palestinian radical groups and the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah.
Damascus rejects the accusation, saying those groups are fighting Israel's occupation of Arab land – Damascus (AFP)
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