Fresh US-Iran talks halted, not dead: Iraqi minister

May 8th, 2008 - 12:12 am ICT by admin  

Baghdad, May 7 (DPA) The latest round of talks between the US and Iran over Iraqi security has been stalled against the backdrop of rising tension between both countries but would be held at the right time and place, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Wednesday. Speaking at a press conference, Zebari said the Iraqi government has not asked either country to hold the fourth round of talks.

“There is growing tension in the area,” Zebari said, adding that neither Washington nor Tehran has rejected the idea of holding talks.

“But they will hold them at the right time and the right place,” Zebari said.

Last year, Iranian and US diplomats held three rounds of talks over the security situation in Iraq but a planned fourth round has hit a snag as both countries traded accusations over who is to blame for spiralling violence in the Arab country.

Iran said Monday that holding more talks would be meaningless as long as US troops continued to target Shia militias in Baghdad.

Fighting in Sadr City, the stronghold of Iranian-backed Mahdi Army militia, has stoked the war of words between Washington and Tehran.

A crackdown launched by Iraqi troops with US military support on Shia militiamen in Sadr City has left hundreds dead and wounded over the last weeks.

The US says Iran is supplying the militias with arms and training. Iran denies the accusations.

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