Syria and the United States started Monday in Damascus their second round of talks on political, economic, cultural and media relations. According to UPI, the three-day closed session, sponsored by the James Baker Institute for Public Policy, comes more than six months after the first round of talks in the United States.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has stated that the dialogue came within the framework of "policies adopted by Syrian President Bashar Assad since he came to power, and based on establishing and supporting dialogue with countries wishing such a dialogue out of belief that it is the best way to solve all ... issues."
The Lebanese As Safir daily said the Syrian mission includes Deputy Foreign Minister and former Syrian Ambassador in Washington Walid al Mualem; head of the ministry's foreign media department Buthaina Shaaban; Dean of the Computer Engineering School Imad Mustafa, director of the History Department Khairiya Kassmiya; university professor Rima al Hakim and director of TV and Radio Riyadh Esmat.
The U.S. participants include Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.; Edward Djerejian, director of the Baker Institute and a former U. S. ambassador to Syria; Christopher Ross, also a former U.S. ambassador in Damascus, and James Zogby, the Arab-American Institute chief.
The first round of U.S.-Syrian talks, last May in Houston, concentrated on political, economic, security and media issues. (Albawaba.com)
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