March 7, 2009
"The importance of this track, the peace effort, cannot be overstated. Turkey has played a very important role."
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, in Turkey, on Syria-Israel relations, while announcing that the U.S. has begun preliminary talks with the Syrians
The Obama Administration's decision to send top State Department envoy on the Mideast Jeffrey Feltman and the White House's Daniel Shapiro to Syria for talks is the most significant sign yet that it's ready to take a different approach and improve relations with the Syrian government. The U.S. diplomats begin the discussions in Damascus in hopes of easing tensions between the two countries and enlisting Syria's help on Iran.
Clinton makes the announcement that the Syrian talks are under way while visiting Turkey and praising officials there for their help in brokering a meeting.