Friday, July 07, 2006

EU Hails "Good Start" to Iran Nuclear Talks

Yahoo News:
The European Union said talks with Iran late on Thursday on a package of incentives to end a nuclear standoff were constructive and laid the basis for a fuller response by Tehran at a second meeting due next week.

"It's a good start for what we expect will be a positive meeting on July 11," Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Friday of his two-hour meeting with Iran chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.

"We expect on Tuesday that they will be able to give us a substantial response," she said of a long-awaited reply to a package of technology, trade and other incentives for Iran to halt uranium enrichment. READ MORE

Asked whether the EU was confident Iran would have given a full answer by the time of a summit of Group of Eight industrial powers in St Petersburg on July 15, she said:

"We want to create the conditions for the start of negotiations as soon as possible ... I have always said we are not using the word 'deadlines'," she said, adding that the summit and an earlier meeting of major power foreign ministers on July 12 were nonetheless key dates.

She gave no details on the content of the talks between Solana and Larijani, which she described as a "tete-a-tete" meeting with just an interpreter, saying only that Solana stressed the benefit to Iran of accepting the offer.

Solana is due to host Larijani for a second round of talks in Brussels on July 11 with the countries behind the offer, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, also to be present at the meeting.