“Australia claims diplomatic victory with Iran-Israel meeting”

“Australia claims diplomatic victory with Iran-Israel meeting”
October 16-22, 2009
     Daniel Flitton reports that the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNNPD), a joint Australian-Japanese initiative, succeeded in bringing together Israeli and Iranian officials for a “very robust exchange” at a secret international meeting held in Cairo last month (The Age). While Israel’s Meirav Zafary-Odiz and Iran’s Ali Asghar Soltanieh did not meet or shake hands outside the meeting, Soltanieh directly asked Zafary-Odiz if Israel had nuclear weapons, receiving only a smile in response (Haaretz).
     Israel has argued that participation in the meeting does not imply direct diplomatic contact, while there are conflicting reports that Iran has denied the meeting took place (BBC) or adopted a line similar to the Israelis. One unnamed analyst suspects the reports on the conference are designed to lower Soltanieh’s domestic credibility, with some “senior figures” already wondering if Iran is bowing to international pressure (The National).
     John Lyons touts the meeting as a diplomatic victory for Australia, reporting that the chairmanship of former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans was “masterful” according to an unnamed participant. Lyons writes that the ICNNPD is “seen as an Australian body” (The Australian). Reports in Japanese newspapers have been limited to brief summaries mainly citing the Haaretz article.
The Age | Haaretz | BBC | The National | The Australian


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