USA: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the US is reviewing its procedures after British sailors were captured by IranRecord ID: 313658
- Title: USA: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the US is reviewing its procedures after British sailors were captured by Iran
- Date: 6th April 2007
- Summary: (W5) ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES (APRIL 5, 2007) (U.S. POOL) U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES ENTERS BRIEFING ROOM (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES SAYING: "I think it's clear that the British soldiers were well inside the Iraqi waters when they were seized. Naturally this kind of an event is of concern and we have asked for, we have asked the chairman, the commander for central command and others to examine our procedures and make sure that first of all that we're playing well within the baselines just like the British were and that our sailors are properly protected against any kind of similar activity." (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES SAYING: "I don't think there is any connection between his action to release the British soldiers and what may or may not happen between the United States and Iran in the future in terms of talks or anything else for that matter. I simply say as I did before the motives of those who took the sailors, who authorized the taking of the sailors, who moved the sailors to Tehran and the decision to release them are unknown to us at this point." GATES LEAVES BRIEFING ROOM
- Reuters ID: LVAB1XXV3EJXDINMX82C5VFUQOC4
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:01:52
- Topics: International Relations,Defence / Military
- Story Text: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Thursday (April 5) said that the United States was re-examining its policies towards Iran after fifteen British sailors and marines were captured and then released by Iran.
"We have asked for, we have asked the chairman, the commander for central command and others to examine our procedures and make sure that first of all that we're playing well within the baselines just like the British were and that our sailors are properly protected against any kind of similar activity," Gates said.
He also said that he did not believe the decision to release the British military personnel had anything to do with whether or not the U.S. would hold talks with Iran in the future.
Meanwhile, the State Department said that Secretary Rice is open to discussions with Iran over its role in Iraq at a ministerial-level meeting next month. A spokesman says the U.S. is not seeking to further isolate Iran.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Rice did not rule out bilateral talks with the Iranians at the ministerial-level meeting, which Iraq's government says is likely early next month at an as-yet undisclosed location.
He reiterated the U.S. position that when it came to discussing Iran's nuclear program, Washington would only meet with Tehran once it had suspended its sensitive uranium enrichment work.
"There is a pathway that is open to the Iranian regime for negotiations to address a variety of different subjects that are of concern to them in a negotiating forum. They can sit across from the American Secretary of State, they can sit across from the U.K. Foreign Secretary, the foreign ministers from other countries. All they need to do is suspend uranium enrichment," McCormack said.
At a meeting in Baghdad last month of Iraq's neighbours, then U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, had brief encounters with both Iranian and Syrian delegates at the talks and McCormack said it was possible Rice could do the same.
The United States accuses Iran of destabilising Iraq and McCormack said Rice could raise this with Tehran at the Iraq conference, which is expected to be attended by Iraq's neighbours as well as world powers.
Iran strongly denies it is meddling in Iraq. The United States has since January been holding five Iranians whom Washington accuses of being linked to attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.
- Copyright Holder: POOL (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Embargoed:21st April 2007 13:00
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None