Syrian President Bashar Assad welcomed on Thursday the policy of dialogue with his country initiated by his US counterpart Barack Obama.
Assad said he "appreciates that President Obama has adopted dialogue as the way to deal with difficult issues," a reference to years of sour relations with former president George W. Bush.
He was speaking during a meeting with visiting US Congressman Tim Walz and Senator Ted Kaufman, both members of Obama's Democratic party, the official Sana news agency reported.
Assad spoke of the "need to work to lift the obstacles that are hampering Syrian-American relations."
Ties between Washington and Damascus became strained after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the assassination of Lebanese leader Rafiq Hariri in 2005 that was blamed on Syria. Damascus denies any involvement.
Obama's new top Middle East envoy, Jeffrey Feltman, visited Syria in March in what was the first high-level US trip in four years. He returned earlier this month for further meetings, describing them as constructive and vowing to pursue dialogue.
Other congressional delegations have also visited Syria.