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U.S. Confirms Talks With Iran During Iraq Conference

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (file photo) (epa) May 4, 2007 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed that U.S. diplomats have met with Iranian officials in Egypt to discuss security in Iraq.

Rice said neither she nor Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki attended the talks, which took place on the sidelines of an Iraq security conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

"I would have taken that opportunity [to meet with Iran's foreign minister]; the opportunity didn't arise," she said. "But our officials did, as they did in Baghdad, have an opportunity to exchange views about the substance of this meeting, which is how to help Iraq be more secure and the responsibilities of neighbors and those who are active in Iraq to help the Iraqis secure themselves."

Iran and the United States have not had formal diplomatic ties since the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-80.

Today's talks were the second meeting on Iraq between U.S. and Iranian officials since March 10.

(Reuters, AP, AFP)