Rice to discuss Iran crises with Kouchner

21st September 2007, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2007, WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and French counterpart Bernard Kouchner will discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions and turmoil in Lebanon Friday during his first official US visit, a US spokesman said.

21 September 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and French counterpart Bernard Kouchner will discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions and turmoil in Lebanon Friday during his first official US visit, a US spokesman said.

The two chief diplomats, whose countries have worked closely together on Lebanon and Iran, will also discuss the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's western region of Darfur, State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters Thursday.

They will also discuss ongoing international talks on the final status of Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo, Casey said.

"Certainly I expect they will have a discussion about Iran and about our joint efforts at the (UN) Security Council and elsewhere to thwart Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions," he said.

The UN Security Council's permanent members -- the United States, France, China, Britain and Russia -- plus Germany will meet in Washington Friday to discuss tighter sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

France has taken an increasingly strong line in the dispute over Iran's uranium enrichment program, which the United States and its allies fear is an effort to build an atomic bomb.

Kouchner caused a diplomatic storm in a television interview on Sunday when he said "we have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war."

But he later insisted his comments were take out of context, and offered in a newspaper interview Thursday to visit Iran for talks on the nuclear standoff.

Kouchner's visit also comes after Lebanese lawmaker Antoine Ghanem became the latest anti-Syrian figure to be assassinated, a killing that drew worldwide condemnation and plunged the divided country into further turmoil.

Before his State Department visit, Kouchner was to meet with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon on Thursday.

He will also visit the White House Friday for talks with Stephen Haldey, the national security adviser of President George W. Bush.

AFP

Subject: French news

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