Iran General NewsFrench, Iranian FMs to meet on sidelines of UN...

French, Iranian FMs to meet on sidelines of UN meeting

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AFP: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki will meet later on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, diplomats from both countries said Tuesday. UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki will meet later on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, diplomats from both countries said Tuesday.

“Yes, they are meeting this afternoon,” the spokesman for Iran’s UN mission, Mohammad Mohammadi, told AFP.

A French diplomat confirmed this, saying that Kouchner “has always said that he is willing to have dialogue with the Iranians.”

The meeting takes place against a backdrop of tension over Iran’s nuclear program, which prompted Kouchner last week to say that France was preparing for “war” as a worst-case scenario.

Kouchner later said his comments were taken out of context, and added he was was willing to go to Tehran if invited for talks on the nuclear standoff.

On Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy distanced himself from Kouchner’s comments. He ruled out the possibility of a trip by Kouchner to Tehran for the time being, but said a ministerial get-together on the sidelines of the UN meeting was a possibility.

The United States and its allies fear Iran’s uranium enrichment program is a cover for a bid to build atomic weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian energy purposes.

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