Delegates at a major international conference on Iraq are to discuss ways to combat violence in the country on the second and final day of meetings Friday.
The conference at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh brings together senior officials from some 50 countries, including all of Iraq's neighbors and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke Thursday for about half an hour with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem on the sidelines of the conference. It was the first high-level contact between the two countries in more than two years.
Rice later said she raised the issue of foreign fighters entering Iraq from Syria. She described the talks as "professional" and "businesslike." Moallem called the exchange "frank and constructive."
The United States says it wants to see Iran and Syria increase control over their borders and stop supporting militias and insurgents in Iraq.
Officials add that Secretary Rice and Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, had a brief informal exchange during lunch at the conference. It is not clear if there will be a substantive U.S.-Iran meeting.
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett also met with Mottaki on the sidelines of the conference, about a month after a diplomatic confrontation when Iran detained 15 British naval personnel for two weeks.
Iran had said the sailors entered Iranian waters, while Britain said they were in Iraqi waters.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said on the first day of the conference that countries in attendance had pledged to waive 30 billion dollars in debt owed by Iraq's government.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had urged countries to forgive Iraq's debt so it can embark on vital reconstruction projects.