The Obama administration, which has been pressing Syria to resume long-stalled peace talks with Israel as part of its push for broad settlement in the Middle East, said Monday that the process could be seeing signs of development.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met on Monday in New York with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem to push for negotiations.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said following the talks that the Syrian foreign minister "was very interested in pursuing that and there was a pledge that we would develop some ideas going forward on developing that."

The State Department said Clinton was the first secretary of state to meet Syria's top diplomat in three years, although special Mideast envoy George Mitchell has made several visits to Syria in the past year.

In addition to bringing up U.S. hopes for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace agreement, department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Clinton had told her Syrian counterpart that Washington is committed to the sovereignty of Lebanon, where Syria is accused of having undue influence after years of military occupation.