Sarkozy's office says French president to hold talks in Paris with Assad

The office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will hold talks in Paris with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad. Sarkozy and Assad spoke by telephone last month for the first time since a chill in bilateral relations late last year over Lebanon's political crisis. The July 12 meeting precedes a Mediterranean summit the following day that will bring scores of regional leaders to the French capital. Syria suspended contacts with France in January, retaliating for a similar move made earlier by Sarkozy, who had accused Syria of blocking the election of a Lebanese president. Sarkozy's office said Tuesday that the May election of a Lebanese president had opened the door for the talks.