Germany still open to talks with Syria on Lebanon

Germany is still open to talks with Syria on solving the crisis in Lebanon, the foreign minister said Thursday, despite a dispute over a controversial speech by Syria's president. Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday canceled a trip to Damascus for talks on Lebanon to protest a speech by Syrian President Bashar Assad praising Hizbullah and threatening Israel. But he said Thursday he still believed Syria, which Israel and the US accuse of arming Hizbullah, should be drawn into international efforts to stabilize the Middle East. "I am not satisfied that I did not achieve that which I set out to do and which I consider correct and important: to include Syria in this process," Steinmeier said on Deutschlandfunk radio. He said he told his Syrian counterpart Walid Moallem that "I am ready for dialogue, but not dialogue at any price ... If that is desired, we expect a relevant signal from the Syrian government."