Following Iran’s suspension of its nuclear activities, U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell met with Kamal Kharazi, his Iranian counterpart, at a dinner banquet in Sharma-El-Sheikh. But despite Mr. Powell’s earlier intention to discuss Iran’s nuclear activities with his Iranian counterpart, there was no mention of this issue in their talks at the dinner table. Foreign ministers from US, EU countries, Iraq and its neighbouring countries gathered in Sharma-El-Sheik to discuss Iraq’s future. Last week Mr. Powell expressed his intention to hold talks with Iran’s foreign minister in Sharma-El-Sheik. At the dinner banquet there, Mr. Powel sat between the Iranian and Iraqi foreign ministers. However, a high ranking official from the U.S. State Department said while Colin Powell is going to have a formal meeting with Faruq El-Shara, the Syrian foreign minister, there is no sign of his intention to discuss sensitive matters like Iran’s nuclear activities or Iraq’s crisis with Mr. Kharazi.
Mr. Kharazi, told reporters during the conference, that Iran has no dealings with United States – only with the EU countries. Iran’s relations with U.S. are a totally different matter he said, adding that the U.S. is not a party in their negotiations. “We are dealing with Europe and it is their responsibility to convince the Americans”, said Mr. Kharazi.
On the issue of Iraq’s crisis, Khaled Saleh the political editor of Al-Ahram, an Egyptian newspaper, in an interview with Radio Farda said it is very unlikely that the conference would be able to reach a constructive consensus over Iraq’s future. He believes the differences of opinion between the participant countries, such as Iran and /or France with the U.S., does not pave the way for a collective cooperation.
The only solution left for Iraq, Mr. Khaled believes is through cooperation between Iraq’s neighbouring countries to prepare the conditions for a national dialogue between different Iraqi forces and that should be done without U.S. presence.