U.S. Open to Talking About Iraq With Iran, Syria

( Lat ) - The Bush administration opened the door Thursday to one-on-one discussions with both Iran and Syria at this weekend's Baghdad conference, as long as the talks are limited to the subject of peace and stability in Iraq.

``If a discussion emerges which is focused upon these goals in Iraq, they are discussions which, as diplomats, we will proceed with,'' said David Satterfield, State Department coordinator for Iraq and senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. ``We are not going to turn and walk away.''

Such talks would constitute the administration's first bilateral meeting with Iranian government representatives in nearly four years. In May 2003, Washington ended a series of tentative exchanges amid charges that Iran had a role in suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon, under then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, pressed hard for a policy of toppling the Tehran government.

Satterfield made clear that the United States has no interest in discussing in Baghdad Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.

The last bilateral talks with Syria took place in January 2005, when then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage visited Damascus. Armitage cited improvements in Syria's efforts to stem the cross-border infiltration of militants into Iraq and expressed concern over Syrian support for terrorist groups. The United States withdrew its ambassador to Damascus the following month, charging Syrian involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

The administration has charged both Iran and Syria with undermining peace in Iraq--and, in Iran's case, with providing materiel and training to insurgents there.

Satterfield declined to say whether the U.S. delegation--he and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad--would initiate talks outside the main conference, which is to be attended by representatives of Iraq's Arab neighbors, Iran, Turkey, the United States and the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. But he said there will be ample opportunity for bilateral conversations with Tehran and Damascus if warranted.

Satterfield did not specify how the contacts would take place. ``I am not going to give you a blow-by-blow of `Will we approach over orange juice or will we wait until lunch is served,''' he told reporters Thursday.

The conference Saturday is to be followed by talks among foreign ministers next month, with an expanded list of participants to include, among others, representatives of Japan and Canada. Rice has said that she will attend.

The administration has been at pains to characterize the one-day Baghdad meeting--to be held in the Green Zone--as an event initiated and to be hosted by the Iraqi government. Satterfield described it as a ``preparatory meeting'' for the later ministerial talks, and said that it will focus on ``addressing, in a progressive fashion, Iraq's needs, Iraq's undertakings, how best the international community, the neighbors, the region can support Iraq as it moves forward.''

He said that Saturday's session will begin with a statement by Iraq, to be followed by statements from the other participants taking turns. ``We will make clear our own views in our own presentations during the multilateral session regarding the need for support ... for a secure, stable, peaceful, democratic Iraq from all of its neighbors, as well as the broader international community,'' Satterfield said.

The administration, he said, views the conference in the context of what he said are the four pillars of President Bush's new strategy for Iraq--security, political reconciliation, economic development and diplomacy.

While noting that Iraq has taken some steps toward political unification, Satterfield said its Shiite-dominated government needs to make more progress on de-Baathification legislation to bring more Sunnis into national life, as well as on a ``meaningful amnesty'' program to demobilize, disarm and reintegrate ``all armed groups'' in the country.

A separate meeting of Iraq's donor nations is scheduled for March 16 at the United Nations, although Satterfield said that he expects some discussion of outside economic aid in Baghdad. ``Far too little has materialized from the commitments for both direct assistance and debt forgiveness with respect to Iraq,'' he said.

While attention in this country has focused on potential U.S. talks with Iran and Syria, other countries in the Middle East have their own concerns about the Baghdad conference.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 21
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 21
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 20
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 20
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 19
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 19
Loading Bars
Uzbek Central Bank publishes data on country's gold, currency reserves
Trade turnover between Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan grows sharply
FIMI buys Ashot Ashkelon stake from Elbit Systems for $88m
Azerbaijan confirms 2,005 more COVID-19 cases, 1,011 recoveries
Uzbek Central Bank reveals data on total liabilities of banks
Iran sees decrease in load/unload operations in Astara port
Kremlin hopes for EU certification of Russia's vaccine
Bahar Azadi gold coin price begins to rise in Iran
India enters 100-crore vaccine club to fight Covid, PM Modi says nation scripts history
Hungarian University Forum and alumni meeting in Baku
Central Bank of Iran shares data on loans issued for trade sector
Turkmenistan doubles greenhouse tomato exports to Russia
Turkey's position on opening Zangezur corridor - unchanged – President Erdogan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 21
Georgia shares data on its top goods exported to Russia
Iran sees increase of cargo loading/unloading at its Charak port
Turkish President to attend opening of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli International Airport
India offered humanitarian assistance to Afghans, Taliban say after 2nd meeting
'Turkic World' project aims to meet information demand - Turkish official
First VP Mehriban Aliyeva shares footages from her visit to liberated Zangilan (VIDEO)
South Pars field revenues account for over half of Iran's state budget
Turkmenistan looks to launch new project jointly with UNDP, WB
Central Bank of Iran announces amount of loans issued in housing, construction sector
Turkmenistan interested in political stability, security in Afghanistan – Deputy FM
Iran’s CBI reveals amount of loans issued for industrial and mining sectors
India achieves the major milestone of ‘one billion’ vaccinations
Volume of loaded/unloaded cargo in Iran’s Fereidoonkenar port down
Ruling parties of Azerbaijan, Turkey to hold meeting
Iran records increase in exports to Uzbekistan
Iranian president to visit Ardabil Province on border with Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan reveals total assets for banks with/without state share
Every martyr will live forever in hearts of Azerbaijani people - President Ilham Aliyev
SOCAR discloses oil transportation volume via Baku-Supsa
Our people did not bow down during occupation, did not forget about their native lands - Azerbaijani president
Georgia-Russia trade turnover increases in 9M2021
Azerbaijan's military units in Kalbajar, Lachin undergo inspection amid coming winter (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 21
SOCAR’s capital investment plan fulfilled by over 63%
SOCAR reveals volume of electricity production, consumption
Iranian currency rates for October 21
Tesla's German plant hits snag as public consultation repeated
Iranian startup companies receive more loans from local banks
Activities in Iran’s Genaveh port increase
Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23
Pfizer vaccine very effective against Delta variant in adolescents in Israel
Iranians detained in Azerbaijan due to falsified of customs documents sent back to Iran
Exports of Iran to Tajikistan soar
Iran begins new round of power plant overhaul operations
Zangilan will become transport and logistical center of our country - President Aliyev
SOCAR fulfills oil refining plan by over 103%
Gas could lose market share to coal this winter
Russia sees record high of 36,339 daily COVID-19 cases, crisis center says
Does Europe have enough gas stocks to get through winter?
Azerbaijan considering proposals for building new modern gas-turbine power plant
Azerbaijan announces time of commissioning floating solar power plant
Azerbaijan to develop atlas of renewable energy potential
Kazakhstan eyes attracting investments in processing industry
Turkey shares data on number of cars transshipped via local ports in 9M2021
Iran to use alternative fuel for power plants
Iran shares data on grain imports from Russia
Azerbaijan updates on renewable energy projects with ACWA Power, Masdar
Iran looking to expand export to neighboring countries - President Raisi
Amount of loans issued by Iranian banks continue to grow
Iran provides several loans in agricultural sector
Oil mixed, but solid U.S. demand underpins sentiment
1 dead, 33 injured in restaurant explosion in northeast China
Iran, Kazakhstan urged to set out a new framework for bilateral ties
Number of beneficiaries receiving subsistence allowance increases in Georgia
ADB to prioritize Uzbekistan’s transformation to market-based economy through reforms (Exclusive)
COVID-19: New cases slightly up in Kazakhstan
India for including TRIPS waiver proposal in WTO’s response package
U.S. FDA clears Moderna, J&J COVID-19 boosters, backs use of different vaccine for boost
India plans to send 50,000 MT of wheat, medical aid to Afghanistan: Report
17 killed in car crash in Egypt
WHO Director General has lauded India's Covid vaccination efforts: Health Minister
Canada to unveil vaccine passport plans Thursday
Covaxin instilled self-confidence: ICMR chief
India: Adani Ports to shun cargo from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran
U.S. readies plan to vaccinate kids ages 5-11 against COVID-19
India, Israel agree on mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev interviewed by Japan’s Nikkei newspaper on October 21, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 21, 2020
Trilateral meeting of Deputy PMs of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia held in Moscow
20 October will remain eternal Victory Day for people of Zangilan and for all our people of Azerbaijan - President Ilham Aliyev
First VP Mehriban Aliyeva shares footages from her visit to liberated Zangilan with President Ilham Aliyev (VIDEO)
Kazakh and Russian PMs hold talks
SOCAR AQS, Naftogaz ink MoU for dev’t of onshore, offshore technologies
After long break, after 27 years of Armenian occupation, Zangilan finally returned home - Azerbaijani president
Mikheil Saakashvili charged with illegal border crossing
We started process of suing foreign companies, which illegally exploited Vejnali gold deposit - president
Entire infrastructure will be built in Zangilan in parallel with protection of nature - President Aliyev
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on October 23
Certain contracts signed in Iran on manufacturing of spare car parts
Recent events related to opening of Zangazur corridor show that we are achieving what we want - Azerbaijani president
We strengthened our army, our economy, enhanced our international standing - President Aliyev
This is our common victory, victory of Azerbaijani people - President Aliyev
We will try to start relocating local residents to Zangilan early next year - President Aliyev
Turkey unveils number of ships received at local ports in September
Leading private Uzbek banks in terms of deposits
Funds allocated to draw up master plan for liberated Zangilan city
All news