SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt (AP) - Iran's foreign minister walked out of a dinner of diplomats where he was seated directly across from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on the pretext that
the female violinist entertaining the gathering was dressed too revealingly.
``I don't know which woman he was afraid of, the woman in the red dress or the secretary of state,'' State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday, regarding the actions of Iran's
The Iranian entered the lunch, greeting the gathered diplomats with the Arabic phrase, ``As-salama aleikum,'' or ``Peace be upon you,'' according to an Iraqi official who was present.
Rice replied to him in English, ``Hello,'' then added: ``Your English is better than my Arabic,'' according to the Iraqi official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the lunch was private.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit then piped in, telling Mottaki, ``We want to warm the atmosphere some.''
Mottaki smiled and replied in English with a saying: ``In Russia, they eat ice cream in winter because it's warmer than the weather'' - more or less meaning, ``You take whatever atmosphere-warming you can get.''
``That's true,'' Rice replied, according to the Iraqi official.http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6607749,00.html
The Iraqi government and some Arab countries had hoped for a real one-on-one meeting between Rice and Mottaki, saying that the two countries' conflict is only fueling Iraq's chaos. Ahead of the two day conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik, Rice had expressed a willingness to meet, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad said he would welcome talks.
But on Thursday, Rice said the American side was not asking for a meeting, and the Iranians appeared reluctant to be the ones to make the first move.
The U.S. accuses Iran of increasing Iraq's violence by backing militants there, as well as accusing Tehran of aiming to build a nuclear weapons program. The Bush administration has rejected direct talks with Iran despite growing calls for contacts.
I'm inclined to blame the Cheney wing of the administration, who's policy seems to be that diplomacy is for wimps. We should have engaged with Iraq's neighbors years ago, but the neocons were determined to impose their will on the region. Now we're stuck with a disaster and an administration that refuses to make any concessions that might help resolve the situation.
Can I hide in the wilderness until 1/20/09?