AFP: The Iraqi government has proposed hosting the next round of talks between Iran and the United States over security in Iraq in January, Iran’s foreign ministry said on Sunday. TEHRAN (AFP) The Iraqi government has proposed hosting the next round of talks between Iran and the United States over security in Iraq in January, Iran’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.
“We have received a number of suggestions from Iraqi officials and they are proposing next January as the time for the next round of talks,” foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a news conference.
“We are studying the proposal and will decide on the level of our participation,” he said, according to a translation broadcast live on the state-run English channel Press-TV.
Powerful Iraqi Shiite leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim had said on Tuesday at the end of a visit to the United States that the Iranian and US ambassadors to Baghdad could meet for the next round of talks in the next “few days.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced on November 20 that Iran had agreed to a new round of talks with the United States on improving security in Iraq but did not give any date.
Iran and the United States have already held three rounds of talks over Iraq this year despite mounting tensions. The two foes have had no diplomatic relations since 1980.
The fact that such talks took place at all, given the acrimonious history between the two, was hailed as a landmark event.
US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi Qomi held face-to-face talks on May 28 and July 24, the highest level public contacts between the two sides for 27 years.
Both sides also met at experts’ level on August 6, but no meeting has been held since then.
It appeared at the time that all three rounds of talks had failed to achieve a major breakthrough. The discussions were marred by an exchange of accusations over who was to blame for the violence in Iraq.