OTTAWA (Dispatches) -- Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif on Friday to discuss Tehran’s shooting down of a Ukrainian airline last week.
The two were to meet in Muscat, Oman, Champagne’s spokesman Adam Austen said. It would be the third time that they have spoken since the disaster, despite Canada having broken off diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012.
The meeting comes after five countries, including Canada, met in London on Thursday and demanded that Tehran pay compensation to families of the victims.
Earlier on Friday, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Abbas Mousavi, said all the countries involved in the tragedy should avoid turning it into a political issue.
"We request all sides not to make human issues, particularly this tragic accident, into an excuse for political gestures,” Mousavi said.
"For the sake of the mourning families, allow procedures to continue as they currently are in a natural matter, far from diversions,” he added.
Mousavi said Iran had cooperated "beyond expectations” with countries whose citizens were killed in the crash.
He said "technical cooperation and investigations are ongoing with the coordination of all parties, and such cooperation is as extensive as possible in accordance with law and regulations.”
Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain said after a meeting of officials in London that Iran should hold a "thorough, independent and transparent international investigation open to grieving nations”.
Mousavi expressed "surprise” at criticism made during the meeting of the five countries, saying it was "strange” that Canada’s foreign ministry had asked for consular access related to the crash, noting that almost all of the victims of the crash have been identified.
"It is unclear at this time what the motives for these comments and claims are,” he added.