Secretary Rice rejects dialogue with Iran, Syria

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday rejected anew proposals for opening a diplomatic dialogue with Iran and Syria as a way to help stabilize Iraq. Rice said Iran would demand US concessions on its nuclear program in exchange for cooperation on Iraq. As for Syria, she said President Bashar Assad would demand an easing of the US opposition to Syrian policies in Lebanon as his price for cooperation. Rice testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee barely 12 hours after President George W. Bush outlined a new approach to Iraq in an address to the United States. Bush's strategy for the Iraq war calls for clamping down on what the United States sees as Iran and Syria's support for insurgents and trying to get more help from American allies in the region.