President Sarkozy to visit US in November
2 October 2007, WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are expected to hold talks on issues like the Iran nuclear crisis next month in Washington, a senior US official said Monday.
2 October 2007
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are expected to hold talks on issues like the Iran nuclear crisis next month in Washington, a senior US official said Monday.
The visit, Sarkozy's first official trip to the US capital since taking office, comes as the United States and its partners, including France, have sought to beef up pressure on Tehran over its suspect atomic ambitions.
Asked whether the French leader, who has made it a point of seeking closer ties to the United States, would come to Washington next month, the US official replied: "Oui. He is likely to visit in November."
Sarkozy was expected "in Washington," said the official, who asked not to be identified because the trip has not been finalized or formally announced.
The French president's office declined to confirm the talks, saying that the date had not yet been set.
The two leaders met in August in the casual setting of the oceanside Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. They also met on the sidelines of a summit of industrialized democracies in June.
The White House has already announced that Bush will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel at his Texas ranch on November 9-10 -- her first visit to his beloved estate outside tiny Crawford.
The United States has been working with its four fellow permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France and Russia -- as well as Germany in an effort to confront Iran over its nuclear program.
Washington has urged the council to beef up international sanctions on the Islamic republic, which rejects international charges that it seeks to develop atomic weapons under the cover of a civilian energy program.
Sarkozy's visit comes as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said that Paris will suggest discussing new sanctions against Iran outside the UN framework at a meeting with its European Union partners next month.
At France's prodding, the EU is mulling whether to adopt such unilateral sanctions against the Islamic republic.
Britain backs such measures and the Netherlands said it would be ready to support them if the Security Council cannot agree on its own punitive measures. But other EU countries are not all on board.
After discussing prospects for a third round of UN sanctions with their Russian and Chinese counterparts, the US and European ministers met separately to weigh additional non-UN sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
The six major world powers working to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions said after their meeting Friday they would wait for two key reports in November before deciding on whether to push for a third round of UN sanctions on Tehran.
The six powers and the EU agreed to wait until November pending the reports by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Solana before deciding whether to submit a new UN sanctions resolution.
The UN Security Council has passed two rounds of sanctions to force Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, which can be used to supply the fuel for power generation or nuclear arms.
Subject: French news