U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has arrived in Damascus, where he is expected to ask the Syrian leadership to stop backing Hizbullah and Palestinian groups and instead support international peace efforts in the region.
Powell will meet Saturday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara, then make a brief stop in Lebanon before heading home.
Powell is also expected to press Syrian officials on U.S. allegations that Syria is developing chemical weapons. Syrian officials have welcomed the secretary's visit, but Foreign Minister al-Shara said his government wants dialogue, not ultimatums from Washington
The trip is the first of two quick visits to the Middle East for Powell. Later this month, he plans to travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories to press for implementation of a new international peace plan. (Albawaba.com)
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