US says open to more talks with Iran on Iraq

Tehran is concerned that a new security pact being negotiated by Baghdad and Washington could lead to permanent U.S. bases in its neighbour.

US says open to more talks with Iran on Iraq
The United States is open to holding more talks with Iran about Iraq's security, but it must first be confident that the talks are likely to make progress, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

At the same time, David Satterfield, the U.S. State Department's coordinator on Iraq, stepped up a war of words with Tehran over the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, saying "other states" must respect Iraqi sovereignty and not seek to turn Iraq into a battleground for their disputes with the United States.

U.S. and Iranian officials met three times last year to seek common ground on stabilising Iraq in discussions arranged by Baghdad, but the talks have since stalled.

While there was no plan for another meeting, "this channel is one we have not closed and will not close," Satterfield told a news briefing.

"But it is important that we know that such talks are likely to be productive and successful before they are scheduled."

In May, Tehran dismissed any prospect of imminent talks, accusing U.S. forces of a massacre of Iraqis.

Tehran is concerned that a new security pact being negotiated by Baghdad and Washington could lead to permanent U.S. bases in its neighbour -- something the United States denies it is seeking.

Satterfield said the agreement poses no threat to Tehran and, referring to Iran, added: "Other states must also respect Iraq's sovereignty and not make Iraq a forum for their conflicts whether with respect to us, the United States, or others."

Satterfield suggested the United States was confident it could meet an end-July target to reach an accord with Iraq that "will allow U.S. troops to remain" when a U.N. mandate expires at the end of this year.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Haziran 2008, 11:27
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