Davuto?lu visits Iran to discuss Syria, Iraq, nuclear standoff

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi leave after a news conference in Ankara on Oct. 21, 2011. (Photo: AP)
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu is traveling to Tehran as part of consultations with his Iranian counterpart that they have agreed to hold twice a year.
A statement the Turkish Foreign Ministry released on Tuesday said Davuto?lu is paying a two-day visit to Tehran on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations, regional and international developments, unrest in Syria, the latest political developments in Iraq and the nuclear standoff between the Islamic republic and the West.
The statement recalled that Davuto?lu visited Tehran last July and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, came to Ankara in October of last year as part of the consultations both foreign ministers agreed to hold twice a year. Davuto?lu’s visit to Tehran comes exactly a year after the last round of negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, which was held in ?stanbul. The last nuclear talks ended in failure.
Iran said last Saturday that it has proposed a new round of talks on its nuclear program with six world powers that have been trying for years to persuade Tehran to freeze aspects of its atomic work that could provide a possible pathway to weapons production. The country’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said he has formally called on the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany to return to negotiations.

Another topic the foreign ministers are scheduled to discuss will be Iraq and the latest developments in the war-torn country. The chaos that followed the 2003 US invasion and toppling of Saddam turned Iraq into a regional bear pit, where Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and Turkey backed different sides in a messy struggle that pitted Shiites against Sunnis and Arabs against Kurds.

A recent decision by the Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, to seek the arrest of his Sunni vice president, heavily backed by Turkey, on terrorism charges has pushed Iraq’s fragile coalition to the verge of collapse, raising the specter of renewed civil war — with alarming implications for all its neighbors.

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