TOPICS > Politics

Rice Urges Syria to Keep Fighters out of Iraq

BY Admin  May 3, 2007 at 3:05 PM EDT

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at summit

“The Syrians clearly say that stability in Iraq is in their interest, but actions speak louder than words and we will have to see how this develops,” she said, according to Reuters.

Rice met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem at an international conference about Iraq held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The meeting marked a shift in the Bush administration’s dealings with Syria, which it considers a state sponsor of terrorism because of the Middle Eastern country’s ties to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

The administration has accused Syria of allowing fighters to enter Iraq through their shared border and is seeking an international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Last month, President Bush criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for meeting with officials in Syria, saying it sent the country mixed messages. But the White House is seeking regional financial and political support for Baghdad, and has been under pressure to meet with neighboring Syria and Iran.

After seeing Moualem, Rice reported that the talks were “professional and businesslike.”

Moualem called them “frank and constructive.”

“I didn’t lecture him, and he didn’t lecture me,” said Rice, Reuters reported.

Rice also said she was not seeking a similar meeting with Iran’s foreign minister, according to the Associated Press.