Merkel, Chirac urge Iran to accept nuclear deal

6th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 June 2006, RHEINSBERG, GERMANY - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday urged Iran to accept a package of measures aimed at a diplomatic deal to end Tehran's controversial uranium enrichment programme.

6 June 2006

RHEINSBERG, GERMANY - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday urged Iran to accept a package of measures aimed at a diplomatic deal to end Tehran's controversial uranium enrichment programme.

"I hope Iran will react in a positive manner," said Merkel after talks with Chirac in the eastern German city of Rheinsberg.

Chirac said there remained major "grounds for concern" over Iran.

"We really want the discussion to take place at the negotiating table," said the French leader, adding, "(I) hope there is a chance for an agreement."

Germany and France along with Britain have led European efforts to win a diplomatic resolution over Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

European Union chief diplomat Javier Solana earlier Tuesday presented the Tehran government with a deal including incentives for giving up uranium enrichment - and penalties if Iran refuses to comply.

The deal was agreed by the three EU states as well as the US, Russia and China.

The two leaders also said that the European Union's capacity to absorb new members was a crucial criteria which had to be met before further states could be taken in.

Merkel and Chirac insisted that they were not trying to shirk promises made to countries seeking to join the 25-nation bloc.

But Chirac underlined that EU institutions were not functioning in a satisfactory matter with the present number of members.

Taking in new states raised a host of questions including who would pay for the mainly poorer states once they had access to EU farm and infrastructure subsidies, he said.

"We are on the same wave-length," said Chirac at a joint press briefing with Merkel after their talks in Rheinsberg.

Merkel added: "Germany and France are in total agreement that ... integration capacity of current members should be taken into account."

The EU has agreed to admit Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 or 2008. But the further enlargement timetable including Croatia, Turkey and western Balkans states remains unclear.

Both leaders were cautious about prospects for the EU's constitution which was rejected by French and Dutch voters last year.

Chirac said he expected Merkel to make a summary of various proposals on how to move forward during the German EU presidency next year.

Merkel called for the substance of the rejected treaty to be maintained. Chirac, however, said the EU's institutions should be improved at present under the basis of existing treaties.

France, which holds the EU presidency during the second half of 2008, would wrap up the discussion process on what to do about the failed constitution, said Chirac.

All 25 EU member states must approve the constitution for it to enter into force.

The two leaders met for one day of informal talks in the 18th century Rheinsberg Palace which used to belong to the Prussian king Friedrich the Great.

"We know that Friedrich the Great spoke better French than German," said Merkel to a beaming Chirac, adding that this meant the venue was well chosen for such a meeting.

Copyright DPA with Expatica 2006

Subject: German news

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