Senior US, Iran officials pay separate Turkey trips
ANKARA / BRUSSELS
Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Gen Nejdet Özel (L) hosts his US counterpart Gen Martin Dempsey during the latter’s visit to the Turkish capital, Ankara. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Turkey is playing diplomatic host to leading officials from Washington and Tehran - two arch-foes - with U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey holding talks in Ankara before Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator meets EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton today here over Tehran’s atomic program.
Dempsey’s met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel for talks dominated by Syria, the U.S. Defense Department said. “[Turkey is] facing an immediate threat to [its] southern border. As a partner – bilaterally and also in NATO – we’re attuned to it,” Dempsey said.
Ashton will meet Iran’s Saeed Jalili today to prepare for new negotiations on the Islamic republic’s contentious nuclear program. “The meeting will be an opportunity
to stress once again to Iran the need for an urgent and meaningful confidence-building step,” an EU spokeswoman said.