Syria invites Lebanon to Arab summit in Damascus

Syria on Thursday formally invited Lebanon to this month's Arab summit in Damascus and even though it staunchly opposes Lebanon's pro-Western government, said it would welcome any representative chosen by Beirut to represent the Lebanese. The development, amid increased tensions between the two neighbors, ended weeks of speculations over which of the rival Lebanese factions Syria would ask to the gathering - Damascus's opposition allies or pro-Western Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's group. The invitation came during a meeting between visiting Syria's Assistant Foreign Minister Ahmad Arnous and outgoing Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh. It was not clear if the visit by Arnous - the first Syrian official in Lebanon in 18 months - was timed to avoid contacts with Saniora, who is attending an Islamic summit in Senegal.