Denmark's foreign minister on Monday stressed the importance of engaging Damascus in peace efforts in the Middle East. Per Stig Moller, who was in Syria at the start of a five-day tour of the region, spoke to reporters after arriving in Damascus where he was to hold talks with Syrian officials. "I think it is very important that Syria is working for peace in the region, and I think we need peace in the region that is why I think it is very important to talk to Syria," he said. Moller will also travel to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon during his Mideast tour, according to the Danish Foreign Ministry's Web site. The Danish official will discuss "the current challenges and possible solutions of the central conflicts in the region," it said. The statement added he will also discuss "the increasing radicalization in the region in general and in Lebanon and Gaza in particular." "It is very important to have a talk with the Syrian president and the Syrian government about the situation in the neighborhood and the country," Moller told reporters at the Damascus airport. Relations between Syria and Denmark deteriorated last year after angry mobs set fire to the Danish embassy in Damascus to protest the publication of cartoons depicting Islam's Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. The cartoons, which were later reprinted in other European newspapers, provoked riots across the Muslim world.