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U.S., Iran hold "positive" talks on Iraq's security
Latest Updated by 2007-05-29 10:51:37
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U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker on Monday urged Iran to stop supporting Iraq's militias in a rare but "positive" meeting with his Iranian counterpart in the capital.

Crocker said in a news conference that his talks with Iranian ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi were "positive" and "business-like" and both parties agreed for a stable Iraq.

"The talks proceeded positively and what we need to see is Iranian action on the ground," Crocker said, adding that "I would characterize the atmosphere of the talks as business-like."

Crocker said the four-hour meeting only focused on Iraq and his country insisted that Iran must back a positive course and cut its alleged support for militias in Iraq.

He said he told the Iranians that they back "militia fighting both Iraqi and coalition forces, the fact that a lot of the explosives and ammunition used by these groups are coming from Iran into Iraq."

The U.S. army has frequently accused Iran of arming and training Shiite militia in Iraq, including providing materials of sophisticated armored-piercing bombs. Iran has denied the claims.

Crocker disclosed that the Iranians said they would be proposing a second session and his country would consider when to receive it.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker (R) and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi-Qomi (L), attend a meeting on security in Iraq at the Iraqi Prime Minister's office in the Green Zone in Baghdad May 28, 2007. US and Iranian officials began their most high profile talks in almost three decades on Monday to discuss Iraq's spiralling violence, which Washington says is fuelled by Iran. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Meanwhile, he said Iran also proposed setting up a "trilateral security mechanism" that would include the United States, Iraq and Iran, while his answer was that "any move on that proposal would need study in Washington."

However, the Iranian ambassador did not respond directly to Crocker's remarks, but he said that "in general Iran supports Iraq and the government of Nuri al-Maliki."

Several hours later in the day, Iranian ambassador also hailed the talks as "positive" in a separate news conference, saying the two sides agreed to support and strengthen the Iraqi government.

The official told reporters that Iran had offered to help train and arm Iraq's security forces.

The ice-breaking talks, held in the residency of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, is the first for the United States and Iran since the diplomatic relations of the two countries have been severed for more than a quarter century.

Analysts said though the high-profile talks achieved no breakthrough exactly like U.S. and Iranian officials predicted, it marked a shift in the U.S. policy towards Iran on Iraqi issues, from isolation to engagement.

The change shows that Iran is imposing great influence on neighboring Iraq, especially on the Shiite militias which are accused of participating in sectarian violence.

The U.S. government, which is increasingly eager to achieve tangible results in Iraq, has to turn to Iraq's neighboring countries for help, including Iran.

In new violence, a car bomb exploded in a crowded square in central Baghdad on Monday afternoon, killing 24 people and wounding 68 others shortly after the talks broke up.

In separate incident, a group of gunmen ambushed a police patrol in a neighborhood in central Baghdad, killing three policemen and wounding seven others.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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