July 23, 2007, RFE/RL -- Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says Iran and the United States will hold a second round of talks on Iraq's security on July 24.
Zebari said the ambassadors to Iraq from both countries will lead the talks in Baghdad.
The meeting was confirmed today by Iran.
The two envoys, Ryan Crocker and Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, had a first round of talks in May, the highest-level meeting since 1980, when the United States and Tehran severed diplomatic relations after Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, keeping its diplomatic staff hostage for 444 days.
The United States has long shunned direct contact with Iran, which it accuses of sponsoring terrorism and seeking to secretly develop nuclear weapons. But in the face of major problems in Iraq, Washington is searching for ways to stabilize the country, where Tehran has emerged as a major player since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
The meeting was held in Baghdad, reported Foreign Ministry Information and Press Center.
Al-Maliki expressed hope that the second round of Iran-US talks, due to be held in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday, would produce "desirable results" for supporting the people and government of Iraq.
The Iranian ambassador, for his part, said that Tehran's policy in the second of round of talks with US "is to help the Iraqi people and its government."
He hoped that the upcoming talks would secure the interests of the Iraqi nation and help materialize their demand for putting an end to their hardships and sufferings and for restoration of peace and security to the war-torn country.
The first round of talks between Iran and US on Iraq was held on May 28 in Baghdad at ambassadorial level where Qomi represented Iran while his American counterpart, Ryan Crocker, represented the United States.
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