Tuesday, August 29, 2006

EU's Solana, French Govt Ready to Talk to Iran Over Nuclear Work

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana is trying to set up a meeting with Iran's top nuclear negotiator as Thursday's UN deadline approaches for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment, an EU diplomat said.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said the French government is willing to renew dialogue with Iran over the issue.

The EU diplomat said, on condition of anonymity: 'Contacts are continuing to study the possibility of a meeting' with Iran's Ali Larijani, hopefully 'before the end of the month.'

The diplomat said that Solana hoped to set up the meeting somewhere in Europe, and that it would also involve 'diplomats' from the what are known as the EU-3 powers, namely the UK, France and Germany.

Douste-Blazy told a meeting of French ambassadors: 'The Iranian authorities say they are open to dialogue and ready to resume discussions,' adding: 'Without abandoning the demand to suspend sensitive activities, France is also ready to renew dialogue.

Douste-Blazy continued: 'But it must be a clear, concrete and responsible dialogue... We want this dialogue quickly, with a desire for serious discussion and with the concern to finally find solutions to the Iranian nuclear problem.' READ MORE

'At the moment, Tehran's response to proposals from the international community is not satisfactory,' Douste-Blazy said.

'It remains ambiguous and seems to continue to ignore the essential question of sensitive nuclear activities, that is to say enrichment and reprocessing.

'This move is essential to re-establish confidence between all the parties to the negotiations,' he told the ambassadors at their annual meeting in Paris.

The UN Security Council has given Iran until Thursday to suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities or face the threat of sanctions. Uranium enrichment can produce the fuel for the generation of nuclear power, or in extended form can be the fissile core of an atomic bomb.