Iran General NewsIran skipped Afghan meeting over French remarks

Iran skipped Afghan meeting over French remarks

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ImageReuters: Iran did not attend a meeting on Afghanistan in France this weekend because of "undiplomatic comments" by the host, Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

ImageTEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran did not attend a meeting on Afghanistan in France this weekend because of "undiplomatic comments" by the host, Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Iran, one of Afghanistan's neighbours, had been invited to attend international talks in Paris on Sunday. But a spat over comments by French President Nicolas Sarkozy erupted in the week before the meeting, prompting Tehran to skip the talks.

Sarkozy, an outspoken critic of Iran since coming to office last year, said on Monday he could not shake hands with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for saying Israel should be "wiped off the map". He also said Ahmadinejad did not represent Iran.

"On the eve of such a conference, undiplomatic comments are made and the traditions that go with hosting such forums are ignored. For that reason, Iran did not participate," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told a news conference.

"So far … we have actively participated in past conferences," he said.

The one-day meeting included foreign ministers and senior officials from Pakistan, India, Russia, China, Britain and the United States.

In a joint statement afterwards, the envoys said their talks, which followed a donors' conference in Paris in June, focused on fighting drug trafficking and terrorism as well as improving regional economic cooperation.

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