UN-German talks on Iran: No breakthrough

9th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

9 May 2006, NEW YORK - Although talks on Iran's nuclear programme among the foreign ministers of the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council and Germany failed to achieve a breakthrough, Germany's top diplomat said early Tuesday that they saw progress.

9 May 2006

NEW YORK  - Although talks on Iran's nuclear programme among the foreign ministers of the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council and Germany failed to achieve a breakthrough, Germany's top diplomat said early Tuesday that they saw progress.

"We have come a good way further today," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

The three-hour talks that began Monday night in New York were aimed at deciding the wording of a proposed UN resolution admonishing Iran.

The talks have languished because the United States, Britain, France and Germany want to base the resolution on Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which gives the Security Council the power to impose sanctions and approve military strikes. China and Russia, however, are reluctant to take such a tough position toward Iran.

Steinmeier, whose country has been among the European countries trying to negotiate a compromise with Iran, said the discussions in New York centred on the question "How can an automatism be prevented" if a resolution is passed.

Russia and China fear that a resolution would throw into motion an irreversible process in which Iran would harden its position and refuse to cooperate with UN watchdogs on its nuclear programme which has raised fears among the international community that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons although it says its programme is for peaceful energy production.

A letter that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent to US President George W. Bush - believed to be the first such communication between the two countries since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution when the two countries cut off diplomatic ties - played no part in the New York discussions, Steinmeier said, after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it contained "nothing important for the nuclear talks."

Steinmeier said it was important not to threaten Iran but to make the country aware of the benefits of engaging with the rest of the world on its atomic programme.

The German foreign minister is to meet later Tuesday with his counterparts Margaret Beckett of Britain and Philippe Douste-Blazy of France to discuss the proposed resolution after the EU trio sought to weaken the draft document without removing references to Chapter 7.

The draft resolution, which has been on the table since last week, demands that Iran suspend its nuclear activities.

Also attending the New York meeting besides those three diplomats were Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

DPA

Subject: German News

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