Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki held talks Wednesday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus after a year-long row as he looks to win backing for his bid to remain in power. The meeting between the two leaders got under way soon after Maliki arrived in the Syrian capital in the morning, the official SANA news agency reported. It added that both leaders stressed the "strategic importance" of the relations between the two countries. During the meeting, the Syria leader said he supports the formation of unity government in Iraq, which will reflect the views of all the political parties there.
According to AFP, The Iraqi premier's office said Tuesday that his visit to "our brother country" was aimed at improving ties "in the political, economic and commercial sectors in the interests of both countries." Maliki's mission to Damascus was part of a series of visits "to different Arab capitals in response to invitations which he has received," it added.