May 30th, 2007 05:39 EST
U.S. Ambassador Meets with Iraqi and Iranian Delegates
BAGHDAD — The U.S Ambassador to Iraq held a press conference at the Combined Press Information Center Tuesday.
Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, commented on his visit to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s home the situation in Iraq was discussed with Iraqi and Iranian delegates. The meetings between U.S. and Iranian delegates commenced after 27 years of silence.
“We all agreed that the focus of our discussions were on Iraq only, and how we might support Iraq, its people, and its government in restoring security and stability to the country and furthering a political reconciliation process,” said Crocker.
While the atmosphere was cordial and business-like, both parties laid out principles, which guided respective polices toward Iraq.
“We made it clear from the American point of view that this is about actions, not just principles,” said Crocker. “I laid out before the Iranians a number of our direct specific concerns about [Iranian] behavior in Iraq.”
Iraqi and Coalition forces have frequently encountered militias armed with Iranian weapons and explosives, such as explosively formed penetrators, during Iraq’s ongoing reconstruction efforts.
“There was pretty good congruence right down the line; support for a secure, stable, democratic Iraq in control of its own security and at peace with its neighbors,” said Crocker.
During meetings, the Iranians proposed a trilateral mechanism to coordinate on security matters with Iraq.
“We need to see Iranian actions on the ground come into harmony with their stated principles,” said Crocker. “The problem lies, in our view, with the Iranians not bringing their behavior on the ground into line with their own policy.”
Al-Maliki extended an invitation for both the U.S. and Iranian delegates to meet again in the near future.
As Iraq continues efforts with improved security, self-governance and economic progress, international support from Iraq’s neighboring countries may help reconstruction efforts and restore stability to the Middle East region.
(U.S. Army story by Spc. Carl N. Hudson, Combined Press Information Center)