DAMASCUS — Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is to arrive today in Damascus, where he will meet his counterpart, Walid Muallem and other officials, a Syrian government source said.
His visit comes on the heels a meeting in Cairo of the “contact group” on Syria — grouping Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — and attended by peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Monday evening.
Tehran, which is closely allied to Damascus, is proposing that the four countries dispatch observers to Syria in an effort to quell the violence.
Meanwhile, Syrian Christian opposition leader George Sabra is set to meet Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday as part of an international group of Christian-Democrats, Italian media reported yesterday.
Sabra, who is the main spokesman for the Syrian National Council, the main exiled opposition group, will be received with some 100 other Christian politicians from around the world, ANSA and Adnkronos news agencies reported.
The audience will be held at the pope’s summer residence near Rome.
The pope last week travelled to Lebanon on a three-day visit in which he condemned religious fundamentalism, called for peace in the Middle East and urged an end to supplies of arms to both sides in Syria’s civil war.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said an audience would take place on Saturday and said Sabra’s inclusion was a possibility.
Adnkronos said Sabra would also meet with other Vatican officials. — AFP