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Wed 25 Feb 2009 12:19 AM

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Syrian FM to Saudi as relations warm

Further signs of thaw in Syrian-Saudi relations as Syrian foreign minister pays visit to kingdom.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in another sign of warming ties between the two countries, the official Saudi SPA agency reported.An Arab diplomat said Moallem was bringing a message to King Abdullah from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He said Moallem would discuss with his counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, means to bridge bilateral differences, including efforts to reconcile rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.

Ties between Damascus and Riyadh nosedived after the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri, a Saudi citizen and protege, in a bombing widely blamed on Syria but denied by Damascus.

The two sides began mending fences last month with a meeting between Assad and King Abdullah on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Kuwait.

And earlier this month, Assad received Saudi intelligence chief Prince Meqrin bin Abdul Aziz with a message from the king on improving relations.

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online