Iraq Conference May Let Rice Speak to Syria, Iran
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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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NPR's Peter Kenyon reports.
PETER KENYON: Professor Joel Beinin at the American University in Cairo says even a brief meeting between U.S. and Iranian diplomats could be a big step forward.
JOEL BEININ: Even if it's not an officially announced meeting, it would be the first meeting at the ministerial level between Iran and the United States since the 1979 Iranian revolution. And since there is no solution whatsoever in Iraq without the collaboration of Iran, it would be a very welcome dose of realism should such a meeting take place.
KENYON: On the political front, State Department adviser David Satterfield said this week that Washington hopes Sunni Arab states will publicly disavow any support for the Sunni insurgents of either the homegrown or al-Qaida variety.
DAVID SATTERFIELD: And the message there would hopefully be violence by Sunnis - Sunni Arabs in Iraq - is literally killing the hopes in the future of Iraq-Sunni community. It doesn't have support from outside. It provides, in fact, a breeding ground - an environment conducive to the growth of other extremists like al-Qaida who threaten not just the Iraqis, but the region as a whole.
KENYON: But the distrust and skepticism of Iraq's Shiite-led government is palpable among the country's Sunni Arab neighbors. Saudi King Abdullah is said to have refused to meet with Maliki prior to this conference. Saudi analyst Halad al-Batarfi(ph) says many Arabs see Maliki's talk of reconciliation with Sunnis as an empty promise designed to conceal a deliberate campaign of revenge against Sunnis especially in Baghdad.
HALAD AL: It shows that there is a plan. It's like the Serbian plans. And that's what's happening - whole areas in Baghdad now, it's having ethnic cleansing by the worse kind of atrocities and heinous crimes to force the people to leave or be killed.
KENYON: Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
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