First Published: 2004-09-22

 
Israeli FM briefly meets Iraqi PM
 

Shalom tells Allawi he hopes peace will come in near future in first ever official contact between two nations.

 

Middle East Online

First contact ever

UNITED NATIONS - Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met and had a brief exchange here Tuesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in what Israeli officials said was the first ever formal contact between the two countries.

Shalom and other Israeli officials said the short conversation - which included handshakes and pleasantries - occurred at the UN General Assembly just before the start of its annual debate because of the alphabetical manner in which countries' delegations are seated.

"We were sitting next to each other," Shalom told reporters at his midtown Manhattan hotel. "It was an opportunity to talk one to another.

"We shook hands and I told him I hoped peace would come in the near future and all of them smiled and they shook my hands and that was it," he said of the three-minute exchange.

Allawi was accompanied to the UN General Assembly meeting by two other officials, all of whom Shalom and his delegation said they had spoken with.

"It was the first contact ever," Shalom said, voicing hope that a democratic revolution might be spurred if Iraq is able to hold free and fair elections as planned in January.

He declined to reveal what, if anything, Allawi had said in response and Iraqi officials could not be immediately reached to comment on the interchange.

Shalom said in June that his country would like diplomatic relations with Iraq, but that it was up to Iraq to decide if and when that would happen.

In his comments to reporters, Shalom raised the possibility of a peace treaty being signed between Israel and Iraq and but could not assess its likelihood in the near future.

He said he planned to meet with a number of other Arab officials, including the prime and foreign ministers of Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Mauritania.

Shalom said he had met on Monday in New York with the foreign ministers of Tunisia and Oman.

"My message is always a message of peace," he said.

 

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe

UN urges de-escalation in Iraq

Haley: Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive behaviour

EU says Israeli settlements illegal under international law

Kurdish independence goes from dream to dust

Female commander more than just poster girl for Raqa victory

Saudi airline flies to Baghdad for first time in 27 years

Wanted Dead: France's approach to IS jihadists