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Iraqi President Jalal Talabani met Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria on Sunday in a landmark visit that could bring his war-ravaged country a small step closer to ending the raging violence and offer Syria the chance to ease its isolation.
A veteran Kurdish politician who had lived for years in exile here, Talabani is the first Iraqi president to visit Syria in nearly three decades. Saddam Hussein's predecessor, Ahmaed Hassan al-Bakr, visited in 1979, a time when the two countries, ruled by branches of the Baath Party, even considered merging into one nation.
Talabani's visit comes only days after US President George W. Bush lashed out at Syria and its ally Iran, accusing them of supporting Iraqi insurgents. In a Wednesday address outlining a new strategy for Iraq, Bush also vowed military action to disrupt supply lines coming into Iraq from Syria and Iran.