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Foreign ministry mum on meeting with Iran

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has met with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator to discuss bilateral issues, one day after six-party nuclear talks in Geneva.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel would only confirm that the meeting with Saeed Jalili took place on Friday. He also declined to say whether Calmy-Rey had brought up the fate of three American hikers held captive in Iran since the end of July.

Swiss authorities recently visited the Americans, Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, who had strayed perhaps unknowingly into Iran from northern Iraq.

Switzerland has represented the United States in Iran since 1980, shortly after the US government severed diplomatic ties with the Islamic republic following its 1979 revolution.

Jalili and US Undersecretary of State Williams Burns met on the fringes of a meeting on Iran's programme in Geneva on Thursday. The talks included France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.

A 30-minute, one-on-one session between Burns and Jalili during lunch was the highest-level contact between the US and Iran in three decades. and agencies