Reuters: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday a new U.N. resolution on Iran would not include fresh sanctions but aimed to show unity after disagreements with Russia over its incursion into Georgia.
By Sue Pleming
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday a new U.N. resolution on Iran would not include fresh sanctions but aimed to show unity after disagreements with Russia over its incursion into Georgia.
Interviewed by Reuters, Rice said she did not know whether major powers would agree on a fourth sanctions resolution against Iran by the end of the Bush administration but the six nations wanted to show they stood together in confronting Tehran over its nuclear program.
"It's also especially important that the Iranians recognize that the P5-plus-1 process is intact," said Rice, referring to the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, the major powers seeking to persuade Iran to halt its suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
The new resolution will likely be passed this weekend and Rice described it as a "very simple" one which reaffirmed previous sanctions.
Earlier this week, Russia boycotted a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss Iran in a tit-for-tat move after it was told the United States — angry over the incursion into Georgia last month — did not want Moscow to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.
"We wanted to be absolutely certain that that was not misinterpreted, particularly by the Iranians," Rice said of the canceled meeting, particularly after U.S. tensions with Russia over Georgia.
Russia and China — permanent members of the U.N. Security Council along with the United States, France and Britain — are reluctant to impose another round of sanctions.
Asked whether she thought major powers could agree on more punitive measures against Iran via a new Security Council resolution before the end of the Bush administration, Rice said: "Let's see," adding. "As to timing, we'll cross that bridge later."
(Reporting by Sue Pleming, Editing by Howard Goller)