Monday, November 20, 2006

Syria and Iran said to be ready for three-party talks with Iraq

NOTE: For updated information on three-country meeting arrangements, see the paragraph at the end of this posting.

After mentioning the bilateral-cooperation aspects of talks yesterday between Syrian foreign minister Moallem and Iraqi foreign minister Zebari, Azzaman adds: "Iraqi sources close to the talks said there is a Syrian-Iranian understanding about having a three-way summit meeting that would include [Assad, Ahmedinejad and Iraqii president Talabani] probably in Damascus. But the same sources were quick to add that the fate of this [idea of a] summit will be determined by the results of the talks yesterday (Sunday) between Moallem and the Iraqi foreign minister, and by the results of the visit scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) by president Talabani to Iran".

And Azzaman adds: Just ahead of his Baghdad visit, Moallem held a series of discussions with James Baker in Washington, where they discussed the Iraqi situation (citing the Syrian ambassador in Washington). And the reporter says: These Baker-Moallem talks came just at the time when Kissinger was ruling out any possibility of an American military victory in Iraq, and said an international meeting will be necessary.

The above-mentioned sources elaborated on what Moallem seemed to have in mind. "He proposed a three-country political and economic partnership, and the carrying out of a true national reconciliation in Iraq that would include ending the De-Baathification Law and permitting former Baath party members that aren't accused of crimes to participate in the country's political life, [and that would also include] control of borders."

Talabani, for his part (the sources continued) will be telling the Iranians that before there is a three-part summit, the Iranians should deal with the presence of AlQaeda in Iran, and border-control; while the Iraqis would expell the Mujadeen al-Khalq (MEK; armed opponents of the Iranian regime) from Iraq.

The sources also said something about a unified three-country policy vis-a-vis the countries of the Gulf, but I can't really follow the thread of what they are saying, so I won't try to summarize. (Something to do with "substituting Syria for those countries [of the Gulf]" in a sense I don't understand).

The journalist's next point is that someone close to the Egyptian foreign ministry said any talks about Iraq should include not only the neighbors, but also the main Arab regimes, naturally including Egypt.

Later in the day, offered this summary of the latest three-country meeting arrangements. Its reporter Osama Mahdi said Talabani will be going to Tehran next Saturday, November 25. And he said a member of Prime Minister Maliki's political party confirmed an Iranian report that Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad has also been invited by the Iranians to attend, and will be there too. The reporter says the Talabani visit had originally been scheduled for November 8, adding "it appears the reason for the delay was to allow time to prepare for the three-country summit", suggesting that this isn't some last-minute decision by the Iranians.

Separately, the Iraqi semi-official (meaning pro-government and pro-occupation) newspaper Al-Sabah reported on Saturday that "High-level sources told Al-Sabah that Washington has invited the leaders of the United Iraqi Alliance, Abdulaziz al-Hakim, and of the Iraqi Accord Front, Adnan al-Dulaimi, to visit it (meaning Washington)." The reporter doesn't say anything about a suggested date for this visit. But he adds: "The sources said this is in the context of US efforts to help bring about a convergence of views in the process of the National Reconciliation meetings". And he says vice president Barham Saleh is trying to organize a meeting of the main political-coalition leaders for the same purpose.


Post a Comment

<< Home