Steinmeier hopeful talks with Iran will resume

6th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 February 2006, BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier voiced hope in Berlin Monday that Tehran would resume talks and meet International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demands.

6 February 2006

BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier voiced hope in Berlin Monday that Tehran would resume talks and meet International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demands.

"I hope the signals that have become visible from the Teheran leadership that they want to resume the negotiation process will prove reliable," he said while speaking to reporters after talks with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivajlo Kalfin in Berlin.

Steinmeier said that referring the issue to the UN Security Council was the opposite of "an end to diplomatic opportunities." However Iran must again suspend its research on uranium enrichment.

"If that happens, the talks will be continued," Steinmeier said.

The Iran issue is just one of three crises the minister is currently handling. Two Germans were kidnapped last month in Iraq and apart from two video messages showing the men, the abductors have not been in touch with German authorities, according to Berlin.

"We have not made any decisive progress yet," said Steinmeier, whose Foreign Office has set up a special unit to handle the crisis. The German Council of Muslims offered Monday to help seek a contact.

The minister is also coordinating efforts to protect German citizens and German facilities in the Arab world from the violent protests against cartoons in European newspapers that many Muslims say are blasphemous.

He said Monday officials were discussing this with ambassadors in Berlin.

"We should not allow this to develop into a war of the cultures," he said Monday. Both he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they could understand the outrage in the Islamic world at the cartoons, but said demonstrations against them should not take a violent form.

DPA

Subject: German news

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