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Friday, March 20, 2009

US attends SCO meeting on Afghanistan

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 02:10:49 GMT | PressTV

Members of Shanghai Co-operation Organization
The US will attend a meeting on Afghanistan sponsored by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO) amid speculations that its delegates might meet Iran's.

"Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Patrick Moon is planning to attend this Shanghai Cooperation Organization conference in Moscow on the 27th of March," State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, said on Thursday.

Wood said it was important for Moon to attend the conference in Moscow because, "it's about Afghanistan and how ... the international community can try to ... better the situation on the ground."

"Even though we're not a member (of the Shanghai group), we're not an observer, we think it's important. We're glad we were invited, and we look forward to attending," he said.

Asked if Moon would meet his Iranian counterpart at the meeting, Wood replied, "There are no plans for any substantive meetings with Iran."

However, he added, "It's not unusual for US and Iranian officials to ... cross paths during a multilateral meeting. So I'm not going to rule anything in or rule anything out."

"It is a conference about Afghanistan and its neighbors. Iran is certainly a neighbor of Afghanistan. And so ... we'll see," he added.

Iran usually sends an observer to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional grouping set up in 1996 to allow Russia and China to counter US influence in Asia.

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