NewsSpecial WireText of Beckett’s remarks on British sailors detained in...

Text of Beckett’s remarks on British sailors detained in Iran

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Iran Focus: London, Apr. 04 – The following is the text of a statement issued on Tuesday by British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett on the continued detention of 15 British navy personnel in Iran: Iran Focus

London, Apr. 04 – The following is the text of a statement issued on Tuesday by British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett on the continued detention of 15 British navy personnel in Iran:

BECKETT ON BRITISH PRESONNEL IN IRAN (03/04/07)

The Foreign Secretary comments on the diplomatic effort to gain the release of the British personnel in Iran:

‘There is a huge amount going on behind the scenes, Lord Triesman is about to have his eighth meeting with the Iranian ambassador in the last 10 days, and that is being replicated, as much as it can, in Tehran and in official meetings around the place.

‘I am afraid we still have no consular access to those involved, that indeed we have not yet had a formal response to the note we sent to the Iranian authorities. They sent us a formal note and we replied, in 24 hrs, also with a formal note. We have not had a response to that. We saw Larijani on TV yesterday, we have been studying what he said and it is clear there remain some differences between us. We certainly share his preference, he seemed to be expressing, for early bilateral discussions for a diplomatic solution and we are following up those remarks with the Iranian authorities.

‘There has been a lot of speculation in the media more widely, more generally, about things like, will there be a delegation to Tehran, what happens if talks fail etc, I am not going to get involved in more speculation about those issues but what I would say is that I would urge you to be cautious in assuming we are likely to see a swift resolution to this issue. Our diplomatic effort will continue, and continue intensively. But while those diplomatic efforts continue, we are clear that we still want our people released, we still want information on where they are, also immediate consular access. We have made it clear that as far as we are concerned, they were seized in Iraqi waters and we also made our views clear on the TV pictures, so called confessions and letters.

‘There is only one more thing I would add, some people have read a lot into the Prime Minister’s remarks about not seeing progress in the next 48 hrs, he is not talking, nor intending to imply, anything about military action, we are not seeking confrontation, we are seeking to pursue this through diplomatic channels.’

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