Britain says spoke to Iran over "regional role" in Iraq crisis

by Reuters
Monday, 16 June 2014 11:57 GMT

LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) - Britain has held talks with Iran over how the Middle East region should offer support to Iraq following the seizure of several towns in northern Iraq by Sunni Islamist insurgents, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said on Monday.

Ahead of a statement to parliament by British Foreign secretary William Hague on Monday, the spokesman said Hague had spoken with his Iranian counterpart over the weekend to discuss the situation in Iraq and a range of other issues.

"Is there a role in the region supporting the Iraqi government in trying, as much as possible, to take a broad based and inclusive approach going forward, and avoiding some of the risks of a sectarian approach...? Yes," Cameron's spokesman told reporters.

The United States is considering ending hostility with Iran, dating back to 1979, by entering into talks with Tehran on how to support the Iraqi government.

Britain has stressed it is not seeking military involvement in Iraq, a country it helped the United States to invade in 2003, but has offered humanitarian support and to provide counter-terrorism advice to Iraqi authorities if needed. (Reporting by William James, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

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