Tuesday, November 23, 2004

ABC News: Powell Dismisses Dinner Diplomacy with Iran

ABC News: Powell Dismisses Dinner Diplomacy with Iran: "Powell Dismisses Dinner Diplomacy with IranSec. of State Says U.S.-Iran Diplomacy Could Happen 'In Due Course'
U.S. Sec. of State Colin Powell told ABC News about an unexpected seating arrangement during an Iraq summit dinner. (ABC News)

Nov. 23, 2004 — In his first interview with an American television network since announcing his resignation from President Bush's Cabinet last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke to ABC News' Jonathan Karl while visiting Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for an international conference on Iraq.

Powell told Karl about an unexpected seating arrangement at a conference dinner, which positioned Powell next to his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi.

"We just happened to be seated next to each other at the instigation, I suspect, of our Egyptian hosts, and we made polite dinner conversation," Powell said.

Last week, Powell told reporters that the United States had intelligence that Iran was working to adapt missiles to deliver a nuclear weapon.

That topic, said U.S. officials, was not discussed during dinner, which Powell described as "very pleasant."

Powell said he arrived at the dinner a few minutes late, saw his place setting and sat down, previously unaware of the seating plan.

"That was fine by me," said Powell. "We shook hands and enjoyed dinner and exchanged polite conversation."

Powell, who previously dismissed the notion of writing a book about his experiences as secretary of state, now tells ABC News it might be something he would consider, although he hasn't approached any publishers.

Asked if it was time for the United States to renew diplomatic ties with Iran after a near 25-year rift, Powell left open the possibility, saying it could happen "in due course.""


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