Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Merkel to Press Bush on Tehran

Hugh Williamson, The Financial Times:
Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Wednesday urge US President George W. Bush not to press too quickly for international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, a foreign policy adviser close to the German leader said yesterday in Berlin.

The chancellor, who will be holding her second round of talks with Mr Bush since taking office last year, is worried that if a whole series of steps against Iran are proposed, including international sanctions, then this would end the unity in the international community on the issue, the official said. READ MORE

Germany opposes US suggestions of building a “coalition of the willingagainst Iran outside the United Nations, but supports as the next step a “chapter seven” resolution in the Security Council. This would legally require Iran to suspend its nuclear fuel cycle programme. “If we move on this on a step-by-step basis then I’m confident this next goal in the UN can be achieved,” the adviser said.

Ms Merkel’s talks follow a meeting Tuesday night of diplomats of the permanent five members of the Security Council and Germany, in their first attempt to agree a common line on Iran.

European representatives set out the broad principles of a formal UN resolution on Iran. This would give Iran about a month to comply with the demands of the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog. Russia emphasised its unease at EU and US plans for a resolution under chapter seven, which Moscow fears could pave the way to military action.