The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, arrives in Syria on Wednesday at the beginning of a two day trip, which is potentially full of political risks.
He will meet his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad and attend a four-country summit on Thursday.
It's all being reported in the French media as part of Sarkozy's attempt to reach out the "hand of friendship" to Damascus.
And also one of consolidation after the Syrian president's recent visit to Paris for the opening of the Mediterranean Union, and when he was one of the guests of honour at the Bastille day parade.
During that visit Bashar al-Assad announced that Syria would open an embassy in Lebanon for the first time in the country's history.
Sarkozy's office insists that this visit is political rather than economic and an attempt to break with the policy of his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who distanced himself from Syria after the murder of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon, in 2005.
Damascus has long been accused by many of being behind the assassination, but has continually denied any involvement.
Just as important as improving Paris-Damascus ties, is Sarkozy's hope that he can also help boost relations between Syria and Israel. Those two countries are "talking" indirectly to each other through Turkey, which has been acting as a mediator.
And the timing to make an impact internationally perhaps couldn't be better for Sarkozy. France currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union, and Syria is similarly head of the Arab League at the moment.
And on Thursday Sarkozy and Bashar al-Assad will attend a summit in Damascus with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister and in a sense the Israeli-Syrian go-between, and Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar, who currently heads the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The hope perhaps that the four will issue a statement making them jointly responsible (Syria included) for anything that should come out of discussions.
Many political commentators here see Sarkozy's visit as a risk, especially as Syria has been accused of transferring arms to from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and providing support to those fighting the government in Iraq.
Sarkozy himself admits that he is willing to take a chance that perhaps the major outside player in the region - the United States - is unwilling to consider.
And he is known to want to use Syria's influence and power in the Middle East to increase the "positive" role it could have in that region.
"I prefer to try to get things moving", he told French ambassadors gathered in Paris last week. "It's probably true that it's more risky, but at the same time it is also opens up more of a possibility of success."
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