Reuters: Chinese President Hu Jintao urged world powers on Saturday to show flexibility to resolve a prolonged stand-off over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, saying there was a rare opportunity for the resumption of talks.
BEIJING, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Chinese President Hu Jintao urged world powers on Saturday to show flexibility to resolve a prolonged stand-off over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, saying there was a rare opportunity for the resumption of talks.
Hu met President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday after the Iranian leader arrived in the Chinese capital for a one-day visit to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Paralympics.
Western powers fear Iran's nuclear activities are aimed at developing atomic weapons.
Iran denies the charge and insists its nuclear programmes are peaceful, and that it only wants to master atomic technology in order to generate electricity.
Hu said China respected Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and called for further diplomacy, reinforcing the Communist leadership's line toward the long-festering dispute, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
"At present, the Iran nuclear issue is faced with a rare opportunity for the resumption of talks, and we hope all parties concerned could seize the opportunity and show flexibility, to push for a peaceful settlement of the issue," the agency quoted Hu as saying.
"China, as always, will be committed to pushing for the settlement of the issue through peaceful negotiations, and will continue to play a constructive role to this end," Hu said.
China, a permanent vote-wielding member of the U.N Security Council, is among six world powers pressuring Iran to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for power plants, or potentially, nuclear weapons.
Iran faces a fourth round of sanctions after failing to respond to a sweetened offer of incentives by France, Britain, Germany, the United States, Russia and China to halt its uranium enrichment.
Ahmadinejad told Hu that he hoped a solution "acceptable to all parties could be found", Xinhua said.
"The Iranian side is willing to keep exchanges and consultations with the Chinese side," the agency quoted him as saying.
China, a big buyer of Iranian oil, is regarded as key to breaking the diplomatic impasse, but has been reluctant to consider steps that might hurt its energy and economic ties with Tehran. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by David Fogarty)