Reuters: The foreign ministers of Russia and China met in Beijing on Tuesday where how to resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program is likely to be high on the agenda. BEIJING (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of Russia and China met in Beijing on Tuesday where how to resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program is likely to be high on the agenda.
Both hold veto power on the U.N. Security Council and have resisted efforts by Western powers to pass a resolution that would oblige Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter, to halt uranium enrichment work or face possible sanctions.
“We are very happy today to welcome our old friend,” Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told his counterpart Sergei Lavrov at the opening of their meeting.
Lavrov was expected to hold a news conference at 0745 GMT.
He said the two would also make preparations for a meeting between their heads of state at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in mid-June.
At a meeting on Monday of foreign ministers from the SCO, which groups the former Soviet Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with China and Russia, the group urged negotiations to resolve the Iran issue.
Iran has said it would reject any demands to stop its nuclear research, which the West fears is aimed at producing weapons. Tehran says the program is purely to make electricity.
Russia and China, as well as the EU3 — Britain, France and Germany — are to unveil a package of inducements and penalties for Iran depending on whether it cooperations or resists Western calls for it to halt uranium enrichment.
On Monday, the European Union said it was ready to share the most sophisticated civilian nuclear technology with Iran if it stopped uranium enrichment, but the initiative seemed likely to be rejected by Tehran.