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Iraqi FM: U.S., Iran talks over Iraq’s security unlikely

By Xinhua,

Baghdad : A fourth round of talks between the United States and Iran over security in Iraq is unlikely to be held as tensions increased in the area recently, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said on Wednesday.

“We were unable to bring both sides to hold the fourth round of talks over Iraq because there is increased tension in the area,” Zebari told reporters.

The Iraqi government exerted efforts to bring the two sides to a meeting, but “neither side has rejected to hold the talks. The process (talks) is halted but not dead,” Zebari said in a news conference in Baghdad.

“We will continue to work with both sides to bring them together at the right time, right place, in the right atmosphere,” he said.

The United States and Iran have held three rounds of talks over Iraq security last year, but talks have been halted over a debate of Iran’s role in violence in the war-torn neighbor.

“We had three significant rounds of talks but there was no fast results,” he said.

Zebari’s remarks came two days after the Iranian government said that it would not hold talks with the United States as long as the U.S. troops continue its offensive against Shiite militia.

U.S. officials frequently accused Shiite Iran of training, funding and arming Shiite militia in Iraq while Iran has denied these accusations.