AP: Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has been invited to Iran for talks expected to focus on Afghanistan and regional security issues, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
The Associated Press
ROME (AP) – Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has been invited to Iran for talks expected to focus on Afghanistan and regional security issues, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
No date has been set, the ministry said.
Frattini is also considering whether to invite Iran to a June conference in Trieste on the stabilization of Afghanistan as part of Italy's Group of Eight presidency. He is discussing the possibility with both Tehran and with Italy's allies, and will raise the issue during a visit to Washington this week, the ministry said.
Frattini is flying to Washington for a two-day visit that will include talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He is also scheduled to meet with the American envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke; President Barack Obama's national security adviser, retired Gen. James Jones; and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Italy has traditionally good relations with Tehran, and is Iran's leading trading partner in the European Union. Rome believes that no long-term stability can be reached in the Middle East region without involving Iran.
Obama has said his administration is looking for opportunities to open direct talks with its longtime adversary and has pledged to rethink Washington's relationship with Iran.