French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Syria on Tuesday to put pressure on its ally Hamas to return to a calm in the Gaza Strip. "It's up to Syria to put pressure on the players (in the conflict) and notably on Hamas so that peace returns," Sarkozy told journalists after talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Sarkozy arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus earlier in the day as part of a Mideast tour trying to achieve a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. According to Reuters, he added: "I am convinced that Syria can make an important contribution to the search for a solution. President Assad can play a role. He must convince Hamas it should choose reason, peace and reconciliation."
The French president started his trip on Monday, holding talks with leaders in Egypt, Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Sarkozy is due to visit Lebanon later Tuesday on the last step of his mission.