Hoenlein says he secretly visited Assad in Syria

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 14, 2011 19:15

 
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An American Jewish leader says a secret visit he recently made to Syria could signal that President Bashar Assad wants to improve relations with the West.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, confirmed in an Associated Press interview Monday that Assad invited him to Syria.

Hoenlein says he was not acting as an envoy for Israel, but that he spent hours discussing a variety of issues with Assad.

Hoenlein did not give details. But he says the fact that he was invited by Assad could be a positive sign. The trip took place before the unrest in Egypt toppled the government there.

Hoenlein is in Jerusalem for his group's annual conference.

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