"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Iran - Did Zalmay Khalilzad have a chat with Manouchehr Mottaki when they were on the piste ?

As land based Internet and telephony circuits with Iran remain disrupted due to 3 major cable cuts / breaks off Alexandria and in the Persian Gulf between Muscat and Iran it is worth recalling what happened in sunny Davos last week. (Satellite circuits remain open)

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad 57 is a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq.

He popped up on a panel discusion at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week with the Iranian minister, Manouchehr Mottaki - about which the State Department was apparently unaware until a You Tube video of the two diplomats sitting together was circulated Tuesday on the Internet.

The full panel meeting lasted 1.5 hours was discussing "How should the international community engage Iran in the context of energy security, nuclear non-proliferation and regional stability" and consisted of Khalid Abdulla-Janahi, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Shamil Bank of Bahrain, Switzerland; Vice-Chairman, Arab Business Council
Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran (see pic)
Seyed Mojtaba Samare Hashemi Shajareh, First Adviser to the President, Presidency of Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Lilia Shevtsova, Senior Associate, Carnegie Moscow Center, Russian Federation
Zalmay Khalilzad, US Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations (he speaks in Video from 28 mins on "one of the most important issues facing the world" - "Iran is seeking regional pre-eminence" ) and was moderated by Gareth Evans, President, International Crisis Group, Belgium (who pointed out that Khalilzad's main advantage at the UN was that his name wasn't John Bolton)

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack wouldn't comment on a NYT report that steam was rising from the White House over the meeting - but not it might be noticed from Condi.

He did suggest the ambassador's interaction with Mottaki went beyond standing policy under which U.S. diplomats are told to "be polite but move on" if they encounter Iranian officials in social situations.

McCormack insisted that Afghan born (born Mazar-i-Sharif), US educated Khalilzad had no policy discussion with Mottaki, and that if Iran does want to engage on substance, the door is open provided it meets international demands to halt uranium enrichment. Khalilzad's spokesman, Richard Grenell, was busy emphasising to the press that is quick to point out that Khalilzad and fellow Mulsim, Mottaki didn't shake hands or meet separately.

U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker has had meetings with his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad but they have been limited to Iraqi security issues (it says here) . The Swiss government also acts as an intermediary (dead letter box) for other diplomatic exchanges between the two countries, which have not had formal relations since 1980.

Khalilzad (see pic) will be leading U.S. contacts in the Security Council in a few days on a new (and so far very, very, secret) sanctions resolution against Iran, the third such measure since late 2006, because of its nuclear program.

Secretary Rice and other big-power foreign ministers approved the draft resolution last week in Berlin. It reportedly would ban trade with Iran in so-called "dual use" technology - having both military and civilian applications, and authorize inspections of air and sea cargo bound for Iran.

Lord Patel pointed to the boy David's enthusiasm for this mysterious and highly scret resolution last week on Wednesday David Miliband in ecstasy over secret UN resolution on Israel Iran

Hilaire Belloc once remarked when someone said Monto Carlo was a rich man's playgorund, that if there were rich men, it only seemed reasonable they should have a playground. Davos is evidently a place where some pretty rarified diplomatic wrangling is also going on.

The Iranian State news service is open on it' satellite circuits which doesn't seem to mention the broadband network problems. They have reported today (UPDATE 2/2/08 2.30 EST) Ali-Asghar Soltanieh Iran's representative on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)spoke at Geneva University last night and made the point that the IAEA was "the only legitimate international body" to examine technical and expert issues of the member states' nuclear programs.

He was anxious to point out that the Security Council should not interfere in the work of the IAEA including the Non-Proliferation Treaty and called for UN representaives from developing countries , "to vigilantly avoid any threats against the absolute rights envisaged in the international conventions." which some Western states misinterpreted some parts of those documents in their own favor.

Reuters report that France's Ambassador to the United States, Pierre Vimont speaking at a conference on Iran hosted by the Middle East Institute, a Washington think-tank said,""This is not easy. We are still having some difficulties with some of the (U.N. Security Council) members but we are trying to reach an agreement on the new resolution," the article mentioned South Africa, Libya, Indonesia and Vietnam voiced discomfort over moving ahead fast on the resolution.

Evidently the US inspired sanctions are either not going to see the light of day or be watered down beyond recognition - although the boy David is happy to stand in line.

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