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Zarif Meeting Canadian Counterpart In Oman, Iran Foreign Ministry Says

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne (C) addresses a press conference after a meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group to discuss the shooting down of an Ukrainian plane in Iran. Jan. 16, 2020

The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif is set to hold talks with his Canadian counterpart in Oman today, the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet on Friday without stating the subject of the meeting. Canadian officials have not made an announcement yet or commented about this meeting.

It is not clear if Canada's top diplomat traveled to Oman to meet Zarif or he happens to be in the country. Oman and Iran have good relations and Muscat has mediated between Tehran and Washington on previous occasions.

In a separate statement on Friday Mousavi said he was surprised by some remarks of the foreign ministers of the five countries whose citizens were killed in downing of Ukrainian plane last week.

The foreign ministers of Sweden, Canada, Britain, Ukraine and the acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan yesterday met in London to discuss the international investigation of the Ukrainian plane crash in Iran on January 8 and called on Iran to pay compensation for the victims and to conduct a "thorough, independent and transparent international investigation open to grieving nations".

"We urge all sides to not abuse humanitarian issues - specifically this tragic incident - in a bid to make political gestures and pursue their political dreams," Mousavi said in response to the "negative comments" of the foreign ministers' of the five affected countries.

Mousavi criticized the words of the Canadian foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne who on Thursday said Iran needed to begin talks that would result in a fair financial settlement and added: “Compensation flows directly from the full admission of responsibility from the Iranian government”.

“The eyes of the international community are on Iran today. I think that Iran has a choice, and the world is watching,” Canadian foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said at a news conference in London, Reuters reported.

Iran and Canada have not had diplomatic relations since September 2012 when Canada cut ties with Iran and closed its embassy in Tehran.

The Ukrainian airliner was targeted by Iran's air defense in the wake of an Iranian missile attack on Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops a few hours earlier. Iran initially attributed the crash to technical failure but eventually after 3 days the Revolutionary Guard accepted responsibility for downing the plane. Iranian officials insist that human error at a time of crisis caused by "U.S. adventurism" caused the disastrous crash.