AFP: Foreign ministers from the six major powers seeking to defuse the Iran nuclear crisis will hold talks on Friday in London from 5:00 pm local time (1600 GMT), a spokesman for the British Foreign Office told AFP on Thursday. by Prashant Rao
LONDON, Oct 5, 2006 (AFP) – Foreign ministers from the six major powers seeking to defuse the Iran nuclear crisis will hold talks on Friday in London from 5:00 pm local time (1600 GMT), a spokesman for the British Foreign Office told AFP on Thursday.
The spokesman said that all six countries — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — would send their foreign ministers. There had been doubts earlier over whether China and Russia would be sending theirs.
“As far as I’m aware, all six have confirmed,” the spokesman said.
Discussions, due to take place in Lancaster House in central London, might extend into dinner, he said. But he added that dinner had not been confirmed and, if it took place, it was not clear whether all six foreign ministers would attend.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will attend the meeting, her spokesman confirmed to reporters in Baghdad. “She looks forward to getting a good and productive meeting,” he said.
The United Nations Security Council is likely next week to begin discussing diplomatic or economic sanctions against Iran, following failed efforts to convince Tehran to freeze the development of nuclear fuel.
“I expect the Iranian dossier to re-emerge in New York in the course of next week,” Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, Emyr Jones Parry, said in New York.
The West suspects Iran may be seeking to develop a nuclear weapon. Tehran insists its nuclear programme is solely for the peaceful production of atomic power and has vowed it will not suspend the enrichment of uranium, defying warnings of sanctions from world powers.
The six powers — the permanent five, veto-wielding members of the Security Council plus Germany — agreed to set a new deadline this week for Iran to comply with a UN resolution demanding it freeze uranium enrichment.
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana have staged four rounds of talks on Iran’s nuclear programme but have failed to make a breakthrough.
Solana’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach stressed the current diplomatic efforts were different from a European initiative in 2004-05, which ultimately failed.
“The offer of November 2004 was only one and a half pages long and only had the Europeans’ signature, while the June 2006 offer has the signature of the whole Security Council and Germany,” she said.
“The Americans are very much on board. It is a truly robust international offer.”