German FM speaks to Clinton on Iran

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Their conversation was a prelude to another meeting on Iran scheduled for the upcoming G8 summit.

Washington -- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the situation in Iran in telephone conversations with her German, French and British counterparts, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Tuesday.

The top US diplomat, who withdrew from the upcoming G8 summit in Trieste after breaking her arm, called British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier on Monday, Kelly told reporters at a press conference.

"She spoke with (French) Foreign Minister (Bernard) Kouchner today," he added.

Kelly did not provide details on the conversations, but a senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the talks focused on Iran.

"There will be a foreign ministerial-level meeting on Iran" on the sidelines of the G8 summit, the official said.

In Clinton's absence, the State Department's number three diplomat William Burns will represent the United States at the meeting.

The discussion on Iran will not include a meeting of the group of five permanent Security Council members plus Germany that has handled discussion over Iran's nuclear program, because China and Russia will not participate, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told AFP.

Instead, five countries -- the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy -- will use a meeting originally scheduled to discuss the Balkans for talks on Iran.

The senior State Department official said that demonstrations over the disputed June 12 Iranian presidential election would be at the centre of the discussions.

"It would be impossible not to discuss current events at this meeting and just stick to broader nuclear agendas, as if nothing had changed," he said. "This will be an opportunity for foreign ministers ... to compare notes on what's happening in Iran and to then perhaps think about how that might affect our long-term strategy that was initially the agenda.”


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