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Italy says Iran turned down G8 meeting


Press TV - Iran will not be present at a Group of Eight meeting as the country has failed to reply to an invitation put forward by Rome, Italy's Foreign Minster says.

"With three days to go, I still do not have a reply: I must consider that Iran has declined the invitation," Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister, told state television. "Iran has lost an opportunity by not participating in the conference."

"Obviously there are rules in international diplomacy: When you invite somebody, that somebody has to respond.''

His Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki was invited to attend Thursday's meeting to discuss means of bringing stability to Afghanistan. Iran had been given a deadline to confirm its participation by Monday.

Earlier, Iran had agreed to consider attending the conference after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that Iran would be included at a conference.

"There are a lot of reasons why Iran would be interested," she said. "So they will be invited. Obviously it is up to them to decide whether to come."

Iran had shunned a December conference on Afghanistan in France after French President Nicolas Sarkozy insulted his Iranian counterpart, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was re-elected for a second four-year term on June 12.

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