News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran questions venue for Iraq conference

Iran questions venue for Iraq conference

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AFP: Iran said on Monday it has yet to decide on whether to attend a high-level conference on Iraq’s security to be held next month in an Egyptian resort city, expressing dissatisfaction with the venue. TEHRAN, April 9, 2007 (AFP) – Iran said on Monday it has yet to decide on whether to attend a high-level conference on Iraq’s security to be held next month in an Egyptian resort city, expressing dissatisfaction with the venue.

“Iran has not yet decided and Tehran’s decision regarding this conference will be announced in due course,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Reza Baqeri was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying.

Iraq has said the ministerial level meeting of its neighbouring countries and world powers will be held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh between May 3-4.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran wants the conference to be held in Baghdad or one of the cities in that country but if the conference is to be held outside Iraq then they should get the agreement of all relevant parties,” Baqeri added.

The official also dismissed the prospect of a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should Iran decide to attend the meeting.

“There is no plan for a meeting between Manouchehr Mottaki and Condoleezza Rice on the sidelines of Iraq’s neighbours meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh,” said Baqeri.

Iran’s apparent reluctance to attend the conference in Egypt could be linked to a quarter-century of bumpy relations with Cairo.

The Islamic republic cut diplomatic ties with Cairo in 1979 over former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s decision to make peace with its arch-enemy Israel. Iran then also named a street after Sadat’s assassin.

Ties have warmed a little since but the two sides still do not have full diplomatic ties, maintaining only interests sections in each other’s capitals.

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