Singapore’s mediation may lead to direct US-Iran talks

Singapore’s mediation may lead to direct US-Iran talks

ISLAMABAD (PPA) — After successfully hosting the historic Summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Il, Singaporean leadership is now facilitating ground for a possible mediation between Tehran and Washington.

A reliable diplomatic source told Pakistan Press Agency (PPA) that Singaporean leaders’ efforts may lead to direct but unpublicised talks between US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, both are already underway in Singapore.

The new diplomatic initiative is aimed at defusing the tense situation between sanction-hit Iran and the United States which is now seeking a negotiated settlement with the Gulf nation.

Iran’s Mehr News Agency on Friday reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, with Singaporean president and foreign minister on Friday morning and held talks on the “bilateral, regional and international issues.”

Diplomatic sources confirmed Iranian Foreign Minister and Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Zarif also discussed a possible meeting between Iranian and US senior officials.

Iranian foreign minister also had a meeting with Singapore President Halimah Yacob and termed as ‘good and constructive’.

Iranian media reports confirmed on Friday that the two sides also held talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran’s nuclear program, regional and international issues particularly.

Iranian Foreign Minister was in Singapore apparently to attend the 51st session of ASEAN Foreign Ministers kicked off which is due early next week,

A late dispatch by Iranian Mehr news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying “he has no plans for meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the sideline of ASEAN meeting” in Singapore.

The Iranian report also quoted Javad Zarif as adding that “The US should talk respectfully and know that pressure and dialog cannot happen (work) simultaneously.”

The Iranian leadership disturbed by sanctions leading to economic unrest in the country has taken several steps to pacify the regional as well as international concerns sparked off by Iran’s involvement in the region.

Diplomatic circles have noted that in recent weeks the Iranians have not only decided to withdraw its forces from Syria’s ‘sensitive zones’ near Israel border but has also pressurized pro-Iran militants to curtail their activities in Syria and Iran. Similarly, Iran has refused to drastically react against the losses suffered by Houthi forces in Yemen at the hands of US-backed Saudi-UAE coalition forces.

On the other hand, the US President Donald Trump also took a U-turn when he sought direct talks with Iran on July 30.

U.S. President Donald Trump says he would “certainly meet” with Iranian President Hassan Rohani if the Iranian leader was willing.

Speaking at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Washington on July 30, US President Donald Trump was quoted as saying that he would “certainly meet” with Iranian President Hassan Rohani if the Iranian leader was willing.

North Korean foreign minister to visit Iran

Meanwhile Iranian official news agency IRNA on Friday confirmed that North Korean foreign minister was also expected to visit Iran.

North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho who is also in Singapore now plans to fly to Tehran after attending the ASEAN Conference.

The North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday that Ri would attend the ASEAN Conference in Singapore and would then fly to Iran.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is also keen to play a role of mediation between Iran and his new found friend, US President Donald Trump and diplomatic sources believe that he might have asked his foreign minister to communicate a message to the Iranians to adopt a reconciliation rather than confrontation.

US officials are hopeful that for a second Summit meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il would soon take place.

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