Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been invited to pay an official visit to Britain, according to the Times newspaper.
The visit would mark the first ever to be made by a Syrian leader to Britain. It comes after Damascus gave full backing to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, which demands that Baghdad give up weapons of mass destruction.
Quoting diplomatic sources, the Times said President Assad would visit Britain "before Christmas". It said London wanted to secure Damascus' support ahead of a possible US-led war on Baghdad in the event that Saddam failed to comply with the UN resolution.
Jane's Foreign Report, for its part, said the trip could come in the month of February, and that British Foreign Office minister Mike O'Brien planned to visit the Syrian capital "shortly" to prepare the meeting.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair declined to confirm or deny the reports. (Albawaba.com)
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