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.


Iran airs "confessions" of researcher facing death for spying

Mayor of Libya's Misrata assassinated

Macron sees war on IS in Syria will be won in February

Assad blasts US-backed Kurdish fighters

Christmas in Jordan dimmed by Jerusalem crisis

Protesters torch political party offices in Iraqi Kurdistan

Turkey prosecutor seeks release of German reporter

Kuwait likely to face political uncertainty

Lebanon arrests suspected killer of British embassy worker

Israel targets Hamas site in Gaza

Turkey slams Austria ‘discrimination’

Iran's schools suffocate in smog

Tunisia elections delayed

Istanbul summit strong on the rhetoric, weak on concrete steps

Israeli air traffic halted due to strikes

Two Danes stabbed by man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Gabon

Morocco’s Islamists elect new leader, walking away from predecessor’s populism

UN considers rejecting Trump Jerusalem decision

Palestinians call for protests against Pence Jerusalem visit

Palestinian billionaire detained in Saudi Arabia

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for four days

Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks