Syrian VP hopes for positive dialogue with US

Syria's vice president said Tuesday that dialogue with Washington has gotten off at a positive start and expressed his hopes that it would continue this way. The dialogue with the States "is just a beginning. We can't predict where and how it will end," Al-Sharaa told reporters after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. "We hope that the coming steps will be as positive as the beginning." Al-Sharaa's comments come days after an international conference was held in Baghdad bringing together Syrian, Iranian and US officials to discuss security in Iraq. They also come a day after Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad said his country was willing to engage in "serious" dialogue with Washington on all Mideast issues. Mekdad's remarks came after he met with US Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey in Damascus. Though the two talked about the Iraqi refugee crisis, she was the most senior American official to visit Syria since the US withdrew its ambassador following the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.