Pelosi arrives in Damascus

House speaker becomes the most senior US politician to visit Syria in two years.

    Pelosi was given the red carpet treatment upon her arrival in Syria [AFP]

    But the White House has repeatedly criticised Pelosi's tour during which she has also visited Israel and Lebanon saying it simply provides a photo opportunity for the Syrian leader to exploit.

    'Good opportunity'

    "We have made it clear to high-ranking officials, whether they be Republicans or Democrats, that going to Syria sends mixed signals," Bush said to reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

    The president, who is currently engaged in a political struggle with the Democrat-dominated Congress over funding for the war in Iraq, said the visit could only "lead the Assad government to believe they're part of the mainstream of the international community."

    He has consistently accused Syria of sponsoring terrorism and not doing enough to prevent foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq or reining in Hamas and Hezbollah.

    Pelosi, on her second visit to the Middle East since becoming House speaker in January, has shrugged off criticism from the White House saying it was a good opportunity to gather facts and build some confidence.


    Pelosi and her high-level delegation, were given a red carpet reception, were welcomed at Damascus airport by the Walid al-Moualem, the Syrian foreign minister.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.