US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is scheduled to visit Damascus on Thursday in order to "present to the Syrian leadership a portrait of the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians", Syrian al-Watan newspaper reported Tuesday.
A US official attending the current round of talks in Sharm El-Sheikh said that "Mitchell will remain in the region and visit Syria after Secretary of State Clinton returns to the United States".
Meanwhile, al-Watan's report says, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah al-Dardari is scheduled to visit Paris on September 22 in order to "prepare a Syrian-French summit on a high-ranking level".
Al-Dardari's visit to Paris will be the second since France and Syria renewed relations in 2008. French diplomatic sources say the aim of the visit is to "follow up on large projects for cooperation between the two states".
The summit mentioned in the report is assumedly a visit by Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri to France sometime in the beginning of 2011. In three days a delegation of French senators is also expected in Damascus.
The warming of France-Syria ties is an ongoing process, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy appointing Jean-Claude Cousseran as his envoy to the Mideast in an attempt to further cooperation.
Cousseran met Monday with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who told him, "Syria is continuously acting to achieve a just and inclusive peace." The Syrian president added that Turkey will play an important role in future negotiations.
Recent talks between France and Syria have also included Lebanon in an attempt to investigate the murder of its former prime minister, Rafik Hariri.
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