The White House has again criticized the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, for her recent trip to Syria.
Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC News radio the trip has undermined U.S.-led efforts to isolate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is rewarding -- as Cheney put it -- "bad behavior."
Cheney said Mr. Assad was a conduit for Iranian support to the Lebanese-based Islamic militant group Hezbollah, when Hezbollah launched military efforts against Israel last year. He said a flow of terrorists in Syria has gone to participate in the war in Iraq.
Pelosi met on Wednesday with Mr. Assad. She said the Syrian president assured her he is willing to hold peace talks with Israel.
Pelosi also said she delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Mr. Assad that Israel is ready for talks.
Israeli officials clarified that the Jewish state is ready to hold talks if Syria stops supporting terrorism.
On Tuesday, President Bush criticized Pelosi for visiting Syria. Mr. Bush said Syria is sponsoring terrorism by allowing foreign fighters into Iraq.
Pelosi has said it is important to hold a dialogue with Syria. The Democratic lawmaker from California is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Syria in years.