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Iran Factor
Iran Accepts Invitation to Iraq Talks
Syria Will Also Attend
02/28/2007 5:13 PM ET
Iran and Syria have both indicated that they will accept Iraq's invitation to attend talks next month in Baghdad, the AP has reported.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the news agency that Iranian officials had told him by telephone that they would participate in the conference, which is slated to involve Iraq's neighbors, the Group of Eight, and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Zebari said that "they have some questions" about a meeting that would be held the same day with the five permanent council members.

The AP writes that Zebari's "words seemed to indicate that Iran was at least partly unhappy with the arrangements for the meeting, and weighing the extent of its own participation."

On its part, the official Iranian news agency IRNA is not presenting any official Iranian commentary, but does relay a report from the UK Telegraph which portrays the Bush administration decision to engage Iran and Syria over Iraq with diplomacy as a "humliliating retreat."

Labib Abawi, Iraq's deputy foreign minister, said that the United States, Britain, Syria, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran had indicated they will attend. Egypt have also accepted.

The multilateral confernce will be the highest-level US-Iran enagement in two years.

Syria has welcomed the talks in its official news agency SANA.


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