Italy: No response from Iran to G-8 invitation

Teheran's lack of response to a G-8 meeting invitation from Italy has led Rome to consider it rejected, the foreign minister said Monday. Italy had invited Iran to attend talks on Afghanistan and Pakistan to be held during the Group of Eight foreign ministers' meeting starting Thursday in Trieste. Rome says Teheran could contribute to discussions on stabilizing the region. Italy is Iran's leading trading partner in the European Union and has long maintained that no lasting solution in the Middle East conflict can be found without Teheran's involvement. As of late Sunday, a Foreign Ministry communique expressed the hope that Iran might make its contribution to the region at the Trieste meeting. But on Monday, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said that Iran had to respond by the end of the day. Later, he told TV evening news program TG5 that "I must consider that Iran has rejected the invitation."