Thursday, August 24, 2006

Merkel Says Iran Response Not Satisfactory

Iran's response to an international package of incentives meant to persuade it to give up uranium enrichment is not satisfactory, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a television interview on Thursday.

"From everything I hear, we cannot be satisfied with it. What we expected is not stated there, namely 'we will suspend our uranium enrichment and come to the negotiating table'," Merkel told Germany's N24 television.

The U.N. Security Council has given Iran until August 31 to suspend its nuclear enrichment programme, which could produce fuel for atomic weapons.

Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for generating electricity, but is studying a package of economic and technical incentives put together by major world powers, including Germany, meant to convince it to renounce enrichment.

"The decisive sentence is missing (from Iran's response) and this needs to be addressed," she said in her first comments on Iran's response to the package. READ MORE

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said earlier in Berlin that EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana would brief the bloc's 25 foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday on the situation with Iran and its response to the incentives offer.

However, he said they would not discuss Iran at the meeting, which is to focus on the Middle East crisis. He said EU foreign ministers would discuss the Iran nuclear stand-off at a separate meeting next week in Finland.