French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will visit Syria as part of an effort to improve strained relations between the two countries. Sarkozy said Wednesday the Sept. 3-4 trip is aimed at pursuing "necessary dialogue" with leaders in Damascus. Syrian-French relations deteriorated after the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syria's critics accuse Damascus of having a role in the slaying, a charge Syria denies. Sarkozy has appeared determined to bring Syria back into the international fold. He hosted Syrian President Bashar Assad in July.