Kouchner praises Turkey and Brazil for nuclear efforts

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French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Saturday praised Turkey and Brazil for clarifying the nuclear situation after the exchange deal they signed with Iran over its controversial programme.

The agreement was, however, just "a partial answer to the demand made in October by the International Atomic Energy Agency," to Iran, Kouchner said at a press conference in Istanbul following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart.

The deal -- forged by Turkey and Brazil, both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council -- commits Iran to sending about half of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for nuclear fuel for a Tehran reactor.

Washington however has submitted a UN resolution calling for a new round of sanctions against Iran, describing the fuel swap deal as insufficient.

"Whether (Brazil and Turkey) were right or wrong... history will not show that (the deal) should have been avoided... it will go down in history that they tried," he said.

"Does this prevent the Security Council resolution, I don't think so. Does it speed it up? Maybe. But I am sure of one thing, it clarifies it a little," Kouchner said.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan underlined his country's opposition to nuclear proliferation and stressed the importance of diplomacy in dealing with Iran, his press service said.

In a letter to the 26 permanent and temporary members of the United Nations Security Council, and neighbouring Turkish states and regions, Erdogan outlined the details of the Turkey-Brazil-Iran exchange deal signed on Monday.

"Turkey is opposed on principle to nuclear weapons and wishes for the region is cleared of these," the Turkish prime minister said.

© 2010 AFP

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