Sunday, April 29, 2007

Iran-U.S Likely To Meet: Iraqi FM

UPDATE: Check out the new blog covering the Mid East: Outsider On The Inside

At a summit set for next week in Sharm El Sheikh, there is high possibility of an Iranian-American meeting over issues concerning Iraq, with both sides expressing willingness to talk earlier. Today, Iraq's FM reiterated that sentiment:

BAGHDAD - Iraq’s foreign minister said on Sunday there was a “high possibility” Iran and the United States would hold bilateral talks at a high-powered meeting in Egypt this week that will seek ways to stabilise Iraq.

Hoshiyar Zebari said such a meeting might not be at the ministerial level, but that it would be an important step.

“I think it’s important, it would be a major breakthrough and any reduction in tensions will positively impact the situation in Iraq,” Zebari told Reuters in an interview without saying what he thought the two foes might discuss.

“We don’t want Iraq to be a battleground for settling scores on other agendas at our cost. Really, this has been harming us, damaging us a lot.”


Zebari said he expected Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to attend the meeting, saying any level lower than this would “not be helpful, would not be welcome”.


He said Iraq’s neighbours had begun to realise how important it was to stabilise Iraq, which is being ripped apart by sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis since the US-led invasion in 2003.

“From my contacts, my trips, there is a gathering sense of the danger of Iraq failing, of chaos spilling across the region, sectarianism getting out of Iraq’s borders, civil war, the disintegration of Iraq,” Zebari said.

“There is a greater sense of these dangers by the region.”

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