U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday for talks criticized by the White House as undermining American efforts to isolate the hard-line Arab country.

Pelosi said Assad assured her of his willingness to engage in peace talks with Israel, and that she and other members of her congressional delegation raised their concern about militants crossing from Syria into Iraq, as well the Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Palestinian group Hamas.

The Californian Democrat spoke to reporters shortly after talks with Assad at the end of a two-day visit to Syria.

She said the delegation gave the Syrian leader a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert whose essence was that Israel was ready to hold peace talks with Syria.

She did not say more about the message, but Israel has previously made such talks conditional on Syria’s cutting off its support for hard-line Palestinian groups and Hezbollah.