The Bush administration urged Syria on Thursday to negotiate with Lebanon on the future of a strip of disputed territory occupied by Israel.
A settlement could have a wide effect on peacemaking in the Middle East, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
"We would call for a negotiated solution among all the parties under the auspices of the U.N.," he said. "And we would also call upon Syria and Lebanon to establish normal diplomatic relations."
The disputed area, Chebaa Farms, is in the foothills of Mount Hermon. It was captured by Israel during the Six Day War.