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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 01:13 PM
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US envoy holds 'constructive' talks with Syrians

7 March 2009

DAMASCUS, Syria - A senior U.S. envoy said Saturday he held "constructive" talks with Syrian officials but also expressed caution, in a visit that raised hopes for the Obama administration's effort to ease the two countries' rivalry.

Damascus has also signaled interest in better relations, but both sides remain cautious over whether they can surmount their key differences, including Syria's backing for militants and its alliance with Iran.

"This is a very constructive discussion," said Jeffrey Feltman, the top U.S. State Department envoy to the Mideast, who was visiting Damascus with Daniel Shapiro from the White House. He spoke after the two met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.

The Obama administration's decision to send Feltman and Shapiro to Syria was the most significant sign yet that it is ready to improve relations after years of tension.

Feltman said he "found a lot of common ground" with Syrian officials but cautioned that working out the differences between the two countries "will require more work."
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