AFP: French President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday underlined his support for EU efforts to defuse the crisis surrounding Tehran’s nuclear programme after meeting with an Iranian envoy in Paris. PARIS, Sept 12, 2006 (AFP) – French President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday underlined his support for EU efforts to defuse the crisis surrounding Tehran’s nuclear programme after meeting with an Iranian envoy in Paris.
Chirac said he “reaffirmed France’s support for Javier Solana”, the EU’s high representative for foreign policy matters, in a statement after meeting with Hachemi Samereh, a special envoy of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The statement also said Chirac and Samareh had discussed a number of “regional questions” linked to the situation in the Middle East at the meeting at the presidential Elysee Palace.
Solana has been tasked by the EU’s 25 member governments with trying to break the deadlock caused by Iran’s refusal to end its uranium enrichment programme, despite demands for it to do so from the United Nations.
Enriched uranium can be used to make both nuclear reactor fuel and atom bomb material.
The EU foreign policy chief said on Tuesday that he believed finding a solution to the Iran nuclear crisis would be “very difficult, but not impossible”.
Speaking in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa, Solana said he hoped forthcoming talks with Iran’s chief negotiator on the nuclear crisis, Ali Larijani, would bear fruit.
“We have a meeting this week. I very much hope we will all move on. The most important thing is to find a mechanism to pave the way for the negotiation. It’s not simple. It’s very difficult, but not impossible,” he said.
Solana met twice with Larijani over the weekend in Vienna in a bid to defuse the tension between Tehran and the UN.
According to several diplomatic sources, the Iranian negotiator has suggested “a two month suspension” of its uranium enrichment programme.
But Tehran has also said it would not stop enrichment before negotiations began with the six nations that are trying to work out a nuclear deal with it.
Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States have offered Iran talks on trade and other benefits but only if Tehran will first suspend uranium enrichment.