EU-3 ready to resume talks with Iran: Germany

21st March 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 March 2006, NEW YORK - Three European nations would resume talks if Iran were to freeze all nuclear activities, a German official said late Monday after a meeting of six powers involved in efforts to keep Iran from pursing nuclear weapons.

21 March 2006

NEW YORK - Three European nations would resume talks if Iran were to freeze all nuclear activities, a German official said late Monday after a meeting of six powers involved in efforts to keep Iran from pursing nuclear weapons.

Germany, France and Britain broke off inconclusive, two-year negotiations after Iran rejected calls to suspend uranium enrichment, which Western nations have said has the potential to produce nuclear weapons material.

"If Iran decides to freeze all nuclear activities, the European nations stand ready to resume the negotiations," said Michael Schaefer, political director at the German foreign ministry. "This an opportunity for Iran to go back to the talks."

Schaefer took part in discussions late Monday at the British mission to the United Nations in New York, attended by foreign ministry officials from Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France. The meeting was meant to work common ground to deal with Iran's nuclear activities and to reinforce the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog in Vienna.

Schaefer said the discussions worked out a "general concept for the way forward" in dealing with Iran in coming weeks. He added that the envoys from the six nations shared both common ideas and the conviction that the Iranian government should seize the opportunity to settle the dispute and cooperate with the IAEA.

The German official, without revealing details, said that the pattern of discussions followed previous meetings held by the three EU nations when they had negotiations with Iran.

Delegates from other countries provided fewer insights into their discussions.

At issue is Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, which can be used for nuclear power generation or weapons production. Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for civilian purposes.

Diplomats had said the envoys would discuss recommendations for the IAEA to deal with Iran, and that the talks would end with a statement. The agency is responsible for monitoring nuclear non- proliferation treaties.

The United States backed the three European nations but also pushed for stronger measures against Iran.

Russia and China have rejected political pressure and sanctions against Iran, preferring negotiations to resolve the dispute.

The six-country talks are part of UN Security Council efforts to force compliance with non-proliferation by all countries.

Last week, the 15-nation Security Council was close to agreement on a statement spelling out its demands for Iran in effect to suspend its nuclear programme. The council plans to resume debate Tuesday on the statement.

DPA

Subject: German news

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