Wednesday, November 10, 2004

AP Wire | 11/10/2004 | Powell Says He Will Meet With Iranians

AP Wire | 11/10/2004 | Powell Says He Will Meet With Iranians: "Powell Says He Will Meet With Iranians

E.EDUARDO CASTILLO

Associated Press


MEXICO CITY - The United States expects to sit down with Iran at an international conference to discuss stability in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday. Washington and Tehran have no diplomatic relations.

The international conference, scheduled to be held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik on Nov. 22-23, will include Middle Eastern states and the powerful Group of Eight industrial nations. They are expected to throw their support behind the Iraqi interim government's efforts toward stabilizing the country.

China, the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the European Union are also expected to participate.

Powell said Tuesday he believed the Iranians were planning to attend.

"Since we'll all be at the same conference, I expect that I would be talking to everybody at that conference, to include the Iranians and Syrians and others, just as I have done in the past," he told a news conference in Mexico City, where he met with his Mexican counterpart, Luis Ernesto Derbez.

Powell said he didn't plan to hold separate talks with Iran.

"We will have an opportunity to be together and talk, but we haven't arranged any particular meetings," he said. "Nothing's been set up, therefor, there is no agenda to discuss here."

President Bush's administration has accused Iran of harboring top al-Qaida members and developing an illicit weapons programs.

The United States broke off formal diplomatic relations with Iran after militants stormed the U.S. Embassy Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days."

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