AFP: Iraq is working to set up a second meeting between Iranian and US officials soon to prevent the arch-foes from using Iraq as a “battleground to settle scores,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said here Wednesday. LONDON, June 20, 2007 (AFP) – Iraq is working to set up a second meeting between Iranian and US officials soon to prevent the arch-foes from using Iraq as a “battleground to settle scores,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said here Wednesday.
“We have been facilitating, we’ve been helping to establish this dialogue between the United States and Iran and with the participation of the Iraqi government. Here we are not neutral, we have our views on that,” Zebari said at the Foreign Office, following talks with his British counterpart Margaret Beckett.
“We have said all along: we don’t want Iraq to be a battleground to settle scores between competing interests. We have too many things on our plate and we would like our neighbours to play a positive, constructive role.
“As we speak, we are trying to organise a date for a second meeting in the near future.”
US officials are also keen on the idea, he added.
“In my discussions in Washington, I did raise that issue with US officials and there is a great deal of support, in fact, to continue these talks in the near future. But I don’t have any firm date.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Monday that Tehran was considering a request from Baghdad for fresh talks with the United States on security in war-torn Iraq.
Iran and the United States held their highest-level public contacts in 27 years on May 28, with Tehran calling for US troops to be pulled out of Iraq and Washington accusing Iran of stoking the insurgency.
The talks in Baghdad between Iranian ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi and his US counterpart Ryan Crocker on Iraq’s security appeared to achieve no breakthrough.
The United States severed relations with Iran in 1980 after Islamic revolutionary students took over its embassy in Tehran.