Saudi king invites Assad to Arab summit

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has invited Syrian President Bashar Assad to next month's Arab summit, a move that could help improve strained relations between the two countries, Syria's official news agency, SANA, reported Sunday. SANA said the invitation was delivered by Saudi State Minister Abdullah Zeinel during a meeting with Assad in Damascus on Sunday. The two sides underscored the necessity of making the Arab summit a success "for the welfare of the Arab nation," SANA said. Assad, who has in the past attended all Arab summit meetings, is likely to attend the summit, scheduled in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on March 28-29. Arab leaders are expected to discuss the turmoil in Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran's nuclear program and the political crisis in Lebanon during the summit.