Iran’s foreign minister to visit Malaysia for talks

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will meet his Malaysian counterpart, Syed Hamid Albar, during the two-day visit, an Iranian Embassy official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

A Malaysian Foreign Ministry official confirmed Mottaki's visit but also had no other details. He would only say that Mottaki arrives Thursday afternoon and leaves Friday.

The visit comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East over Israel's military strikes on Lebanon and the retaliation by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group.

Malaysia is planning to host a summit of the 57-member OIC, the world's largest Muslim political grouping, to find ways to end the crisis. The summit is tentatively set for Aug. 3, and it is hoped at least 15 or up to 20 heads of governments would attend, said the Malaysian official, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Malaysian government is still preparing a list of the leaders who can make it, but doesn't expect a near-full attendance, said the official.

Mottaki's visit will coincide with that of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who also arrives later Thursday to attend an Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum in Kuala Lumpur, the AP reports.