Rice, Chirac confer on Iran nuclear deadlock

31st March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 30, 2006 (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met French President Jacques Chirac in Paris Thursday as part of a lightning tour of Europe for consultations on Iran.

PARIS, March 30, 2006 (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met French President Jacques Chirac in Paris Thursday as part of a lightning tour of Europe for consultations on Iran.

Rice arrived from Berlin, where she attended a meeting with foreign ministers of the major United Nations powers on how to act on Iran's nuclear program.

The French president expressed his "great concern" after Teheran refused once again to suspend its nuclear activities, said his spokesman Jérome Bonnafont.

Chirac nonetheless underscored "France's satisfaction" after the unanimous adoption by UN Security Council Wednesday of a non-binding statement giving Iran 30 days to abandon its uranium enrichment activities.

Rice made no comments to the press after the 90-minute meeting at the president's Elysée palace, returning to Le Bourget airport outside Paris, from where she headed to Britain.

In their meeting, Chirac underscored "the convergence of views between the United States and France, and expressed his hopes that close consultations will continue between the two countries," Bonnafont said.

In addition to the Iranian dossier, Rice and Chirac also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in Lebanon.

The French president recalled the three conditions laid down by Europe for engaging in a dialogue with the Hamas-led Palestinian government: recognizing Israel, halting violence and recognizing accords already signed with Israel.

On the UN Security Council statement, Rice earlier hailed the text as a first step in dealing with Iran.

She pointed out the non-binding declaration was a compromise shaped by weeks of negotiations with fellow veto-wielding Security Council members, notably Russia.

The US diplomat left Paris for Britain, where she was to pay a visit to the northwestern cities of Liverpool and Blackburn, the home constituency of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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