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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pelosi Consults With Saudi Leaders

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi met with Saudi Arabia's main political advisory board Thursday, as she continued her Middle East tour a day after meeting with Syria's president.

Pelosi arrived in Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, Wednesday night from Syria, where she defied the White House's policy by meeting with President Bashar Assad and insisting that "the road to Damascus is a road to peace."

The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush has rejected direct talks with Damascus and criticized Pelosi for her visit.

Pelosi met with Saudi King Abdullah when she first arrived in the kingdom Wednesday and was meeting on Thursday with several members of the Shura Council, an unelected advisory assembly named by the king.

Sheik Saleh bin Humaid, head of the council and a cleric at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, greeted Pelosi upon her arrival Thursday. Bin Humaid placed his right hand on his chest in a traditional Arab greeting since Islamic clerics do not shake hands with women.

Pelosi was met at the airport Wednesday night by Abdul-Rahman al-Zamel, the head of the Saudi-American friendship committee at the council.

He described the speaker's visit as a breakthrough and praised the inclusion of a Muslim in her delegation. Pelosi is traveling with a delegation of U.S. lawmakers, including the first Muslim member of Congress, Democratic U.S. Representative Keith Ellison.

Zamel also praised Pelosi's visit to Syria, saying Syria "is part of this Arab world, part of the issues to be resolved, and to ignore people gets you nowhere."

Pelosi was the highest-ranking U.S. politician to visit Syria since relations began to deteriorate in 2003.

Then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell went to Damascus in May 2003.