France sees diplomatic way out of Iran crisis

12th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

ABU DHABI, March 11, 2007 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Sunday that a diplomatic solution was still possible to the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme.

ABU DHABI, March 11, 2007 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Sunday that a diplomatic solution was still possible to the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme.

"Very frankly, I think the diplomatic path is possible. I believe that," he said at a joint press conference in Abu Dhabi with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan.

"I don't want to believe for an instant that Iran, after having isolated itself politically and economically, can afford to take further risks," the French minister said.

Asked about the military option, he said the United States, which is at the forefront of international opposition to Iran's programme, "acknowledges that the strategy (of) using dialogue and pressure are bearing fruit".

The five UN Security Council permanent members, including France, and Germany are currently discussing a draft resolution to tighten sanctions against the Islamic republic for its controversial nuclear fuel work.

The council in December agreed a first set of measures penalising Iran for its refusal to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment activities.

France's policy is centred on "firmness and dialogue" as well as achieving unanimity, said Douste-Blazy, warning that "if there is no unanimity, there will be no effectiveness to the Security Council's position".

A military strike, which the United States has refused to rule out, "would have unpredictable consequences which would prove deeply destabilising for the whole region," he said.

Douste-Blazy was winding up a tour of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, which like the other Gulf Arab states have also warned against the regional impact of any strike on Iran.

Paris is playing the role of mediator between the United States on one hand and Russia and China on the other, in trying to achieve the required consensus, Douste-Blazy said on Saturday in Kuwait City.

Iran denies it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability and insists it has the right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to conduct uranium enrichment for power generation, despite Security Council demands to suspend the activity.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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