Reuters: French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday he wanted U.S. President Barack Obama to act firmly in any direct talks with Iran over its nuclear programme.
KUWAIT (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday he wanted U.S. President Barack Obama to act firmly in any direct talks with Iran over its nuclear programme.
In a break from the policy of former President George W. Bush, Obama has said he is willing to start talks with Iran, which Washington and allies such as France and Britain believe is amassing the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
Tehran says it only wants to master atomic technology to generate electricity.
"I strongly hope that the new U.S. president, Mr Barack Obama, launches these talks with a spirit of dialogue, of course, and with a certain firmness," Sarkozy told a news conference while on an official visit to Kuwait.
Sarkozy added that he did not expect any talks to take place before the Iranian presidential elections in June, which the West hopes will see President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad replaced by a more moderate figure.
"I think it is wise to wait until these elections take place for the talks to enter a new phase," Sarkozy said.
The French president added that Paris and Kuwait were in talks on a possible sale of 14-28 Rafale fighter aircraft, a high-tech but expensive jet for which France has yet to find a foreign buyer. Sarkozy said a deal could be reached this year.
(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; writing by Francois Murphy)