ISRAEL has confirmed that one of its officials attended Australian-brokered meetings last month over the nuclear issue which included a representative of Iran.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said last night such meetings did occur in Cairo and had been brokered by the Kevin Rudd-established International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.
It was one of the few direct official contacts that an Israeli has had with an Iranian official for decades. The meetings occurred at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo and were held in secret.
Several countries, other than Israel and Iran, were in the meetings, including the US, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
The Israeli official said the meetings were organised by the Australian Foreign Ministry. "It was an Australian initiative," the spokesman said.
"It was not organised by a UN agency or anything - that is not to say it's unimportant, it's just to give context to it."
The Israeli official was Meirav Zafary-Odiz, head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and the Iranian official was Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
While there were other countries in attendance, the significance is that neither Israel nor Iran boycotted the meeting when they heard the other was coming.
At the recent UN General Assembly, both delegations made sure they were not in attendance when the leader of the other side spoke.
Source: The Australian