US hints at willingness to talk bilaterally with Iran
10 March 2007
WASHINGTON - The United States says it could be willing to hold groundbreaking bilateral talks with Iran, as it calls on Teheran and Damascus to help Iraq hours ahead of a regional security conference in Baghdad.continues here
Outgoing US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad on Friday suggested the United States could be willing to hold bilateral talks with longtime foe Teheran.
Ahead of regional security talks in Baghdad, the US diplomat said that “if we judge that a bilateral meeting (with Iran) would be useful, and we will be prepared to do so ... we would be willing to do that.
“We have said for some time that if it is useful, we will be willing to sit down with the Iranians, and talk about Iraq,” Khalilzad added.
“I’ve had this authority for about a year, but we have not been able to do it, either because the timing has been such, when we have felt it was not going to be useful, or the Iranians have been unwilling to participate,” he said.
Saturday’s talks in Baghdad will constitute a rare meeting between representatives of Iran and Syria and those from the United States.
Washington has had no diplomatic relations with Teheran for decades, and relations with Damascus have been severely strained over Syria’s alleged meddling in Lebanon.