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US must bring Iran into 'negotiating family' - former UK envoy

London, Sept 12, IRNA - Britain's former ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, Wednesday urged US President George Bush to use his last year in office to open a serious dialogue with Iran to help stabilize Iraq.

"I would say to the president you have nothing to lose and you may, at the same time be able you fix the nuclear problem as well, bring the Iranians into the negotiating family," Meyer said.

"At the end of the day, we cannot ignore them because of their influence in Iraq and elsewhere, and indeed in Afghanistan, I hasten to add," he said in an interview with BBC Radio Four's Today program.

Meyer, who was British ambassador to the US in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, suggested that Iran's role was fundamental in helping to resolve regional problems in the Middle East.

"It should be possible to come to some arrangements with the Iranians that deals with the nuclear problem and brings them into some-kind of high-level negotiations, where their role, whether we like it or not, is recognized in the region and indeed in parts of Iraq," he said.

The former envoy said there had been "twitches and signs" in the US that the Americans were going to have to activate the diplomatic channel, recognizing that the low-level talks with Iran are "not going anywhere."

He said it was "yet to be sold" to the Americans that they were going to have to raise their contacts with the Iranians and Iraq's other neighbours, and this he suggested should "engage no less than the US secretary of state and her regional counterparts."

The strong advice on Iraq he would give to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, would be to be tell Bush that "we need as a companion piece to the military surge, a political and diplomatic surge. You cannot do military in a vacuum," Meyer said.

His call comes after the co-chair of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) in the US, Lee Hamilton also suggested that the Bush Administration had not gone nearly far enough in trying to resolve its problems with Iran.

"You cannot solve the problems with Iran in two meetings at ambassadorial level. You have to have long, sustained meetings at a very high level," Hamilton told the BBC on Tuesday.

... Payvand News - 9/13/07 ... --

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