Syrian officials told US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Syria would do its utmost to influence Hamas and Hizbullah and promote a prisoner exchange deal for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldiers, Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.
According to the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Pelosi, who is currently visiting Damascus, that Syria was "prepared for a just, comprehensive peace," that would include Israel's retreat from the Golan Heights.
At a press conference held after their meeting, Pelosi emphasized that the US was deeply concerned about the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hibzullah.
Assad and Pelosi in Damascus (Photo: AFP)
The meeting took place in Assad's presidential palace in Damascus. Eyewitnesses reported that later, Assad took Pelosi for lunch in a restaurant located in a reconstructed house in the ancient quarter of the capital.
During her Middle East visit, Pelosi met with the families of the kidnapped soldiers and said she would not rest until the three were returned home.
At a speech she made at a Knesset reception in her honor, she displayed the dog tags of the three kidnapped soldiers, given to her by their families.
Pelosi continued from Damascus to Riyadh – her last stop on this Mideast trip. Diplomatic sources reported that she met with the Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz.
She is scheduled to hold several meetings with Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal before leaving the kingdom Friday. Her Saudi visit is scheduled to focus on Iraq.