Bush and Merkel discuss Iran nuclear crisis

19th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 January 2006, WASHINGTON - U.S. President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed Iran Wednesday morning during a telephone call, the White House said.

19 January 2006

WASHINGTON - U.S. President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed Iran Wednesday morning during a telephone call, the White House said.

The two leaders discussed the next steps that should be taken since Iran resumed nuclear research last week, and since the United States joined the European Union earlier this week in requesting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) refer the issue to the U.N. Security Council, spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Bush and Merkel met at the White House last Friday in their first meeting since Merkel became chancellor in November. The leaders expressed strong support for taking action against Iran for proceeding with its nuclear programme.

Two days ago, Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has raised questions about taking a tough stance against Iran on the Security Council.

Also on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana dismissed Iranian suggestions that nuclear talks should continue.

"There's not much to talk about," Rice said during a meeting with Solana.

Rice and Solana held discussions amid a flurry of US and European diplomacy following Iran's resumption last week of nuclear enrichment research at its Natanz facility.

Iran has since signalled a new interest in continued dialogue, but Solana also appeared to rebuff the Iranians, saying a new round wouldn't make much sense at this point.

"It doesn't make much sense to have another meeting if there is nothing new on what they are going to put on the table," he said.

The IAEA has set the date of February 2 to take up the EU and US request.

Solana emphasized that there would be a push to persuade every nation on the IAEA board to vote in favour of taking the issue to the Security Council.

There has been some resistance from Russia and China, but Rice pointed out that the two countries have expressed "grave concerns" about Iran's nuclear programme.

Iran says its nuclear work is purely to develop new energy sources, but Washington accuses Iran of seeking to develop weapons.

"Iran must not be allowed to get nuclear weapons," Rice said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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