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Syria, Iraq Reported Ready to Hold Talks on a Reconciliation

November 20, 1987|United Press International

KUWAIT — The foreign ministers of Syria and Iraq will meet soon to prepare for talks between Syrian President Hafez Assad and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas said Thursday.

A reconciliation between Assad and Hussein could lead to a key shift of influence in the Middle East, affecting the seven-year-old Iran-Iraq War, Al Qabas said.

Under Assad, Syria has been a close ally of Iran, but a rapprochement with Iraq could drastically alter that policy.

Al Qabas, quoting sources in the Jordanian capital of Amman, where the Arab League summit was held last week, said King Hussein of Jordan recently discussed with Assad the holding of a ministerial meeting.

"The Syrian president told King Hussein . . . that Syria will propose a date within two days for the foreign ministers' meeting," the report said.

Staunch rivals since 1980, when Syria backed Iran at the onset of the Persian Gulf War, the two leaders met at the Amman summit last week in what diplomats described as a reconciliation.

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