Despite past disagreements with Syria and Iran, if a bipartisan commission recommends talks with them to improve the situation in Iraq, the Bush administration will be open to the suggestion, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten told ABC News' "This Week."
Bolten's comments come as President Bush is slated to meet Monday with the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker. The panel is supposed to advise the president on new strategies in Iraq.
And they also come as Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, America's ally in Iraq, is expected to recommend talks are needed with Syria and Iran to help stem the violence in Iraq. Blairs comments are expected as part of a foreign policy address Monday evening at the annual Lord Mayor's Banquet to be held at Guildhall in central London.
Baker recently indicated on "This Week" that he thought negotiating with Syria and Iran could be a strategy for improving the situation in Iraq. The commission will reportedly recommend such a solution.
"Iran and Syria have been meddling in Iraq in a very unhelpful way," Bolten told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos today. "Iranian weapons and technology have found their way into the Iraqi conflict and are being used to kill Iraqis and American soldiers. … That needs to stop.
"That said," he added, "we'll be open to what the Baker/Hamilton commission has to recommend, and we'll be trying to treat that in as open and bipartisan a way as possible."
After meeting with the president and other top administration officials Monday, the study group plans to brief Democrats on Tuesday. The group's members hope to release their final report within weeks.
Experts say there are no easy answers to America's troubles in Iraq.
"There's no silver bullet here," said retired U.S. Gen. Jack Keane, an ABC News military analyst. "So I think their plan will reflect a political strategy, a military strategy, an economic one and a very strong diplomatic one."
Keane is one of more than 150 experts the study group has interviewed, and he recommends that 40,000 additional U.S. troops be sent to secure Baghdad.
Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and co-author of "Hard Power," told ABC News that President Bush will probably attempt several approaches -- including involving Iran and Syria -- over one radical move to improve the situation in Iraq.
"A big radical change … to move millions of people around so they're not living amidst places where they're vulnerable … that kind of radical idea is not yet on the table, if it ever will be," O'Hanlon said.
"I think they'll try with a number of pragmatic approaches," O'Hanlon added. "Those are the kind of ideas they may be proposing -- a lot of second-level ideas that hopefully all together add up to something notable."
Despite exit poll figures indicating that a majority of American voters would support withdrawal of troops from Iraq, O'Hanlon said that may not be possible for Bush.
"I think that's essentially an admission of defeat, if you make that your top priority and you do it too quickly," he said.
Instead, he suggested that the president use the results of the election to set a deadline for the Iraqis to find compromise.