The United States is
preparing for a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Egypt on Thursday, the first meeting
at this level for more than two years, a U.S. official said.
Any encounter between Rice and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki
will not tackle substantive issues, added the official, who asked not to be
Rice, Moualem and Mottaki are in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm
el-Sheikh for a two-day meeting on economic recovery in Iraq and its political
The U.S. official said that even the meeting between Rice and Moualem would
deal mainly with security on the Iraqi-Syrian border, not with Lebanon or
attempts to prosecute those who killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik
al-Hariri in 2005.
"I would expect they will have a discussion on border security issues," a
senior State Department official said.
Asked what Rice would say if Moualem brought up Lebanon or other matters not
directly related to Iraq, the official said: "She will restate U.S. policy on
U.S. officials said that if Rice did exchange words with the Iranian minister
in Sharm el-Sheikh it would probably be in passing before dinner.
This would be in accordance with the wishes of the Iranian side, the official
Iran and the United States have not had relations since soon after the
Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979.