"US relations with Iran, US relations with Syria and other countries in the region on the bilateral level are important to us," said the official speaking to a small group of Brussels-based journalists from the Arab-Muslim world, including IRNA's correspondent.
"There have been efforts between our two governments working through other parties to try to overcome some of the difficulties which separate us. We try to ensure that in the future we will have a better basis on which to engage," said the official speaking on condition of anonymity.
The US official is touring some European capitals to brief the media from the Arab-Muslim world in an effort to improve the poor US media image and credibility in the Arab-Muslim world.
He said the US wants to intensify contacts with the media, writers, scholars and thinkers in the Arab-Muslim world to give a better understanding of US policies.
"Certainly Iran is an important country in the region, a country with which we have serious difficulties over nuclear issues, issues of terrorism and other issues as well. But hopefully over time these will be resolved and we will move ahead," he said.
Replying to a question, if the West has learnt from its past mistakes by supporting regimes like that of Saddam Hussein during the 8-year war against Iran, he said, "We hope to learn from our past mistakes," adding, "We should now look into the future."
He stated that the US has no overall agenda for the Middle East.
Commenting on the situation in Iraq, he said the resistance there is not an overall uprising but the work of the remnants of the Baathist regime.
"We do not want to stay in a Iraq a day longer than necessary," he stressed adding that the US wants to leave Iraq in the hands of a democratic government.
He said the US welcomes United Nations role in Iraq.
The official said the US is planning to form one division of a broad-based Iraqi army for defense purposes only.
... Payvand News - 7/29/03 ... --