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


    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Pick your team and answer as many correct questions in three minutes.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Remembering Chernobyl

    Remembering Chernobyl

    The fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion remains as politicised as ever, 28 years on.