Syria: Timetable for US pullout to reduce violence

Setting a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq would reduce violence, the Syrian foreign minister said Sunday during a breakthrough visit to Baghdad. Walid Moallem and his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, told reporters they had discussed restoring diplomatic relations between Damascus and Baghdad, which were severed in 1982. There was no word that ties had been restored. "We believe that that a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq will help in reducing violence and preserving security," said Moallem, the highest level Syrian official to visit Iraq since the ouster of Saddam Hussein. He further called on Iraqis to put aside sectarian and ethnic divisions and to end the killing that is ravaging the country. "Syria's renews its condemnation of all acts of terrorism that occurred and are occurring in Iraq and are harming the Iraqi people. We call you to cling to your unity," he said.