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. Croatia says Iran acting in good faith in nuclear talks with EU
ZAGREB (AFP) Mar 07, 2005
Croatian President Stipe Mesic on Monday said Iran was acting in good faith in its talks with the European Union which is pressing Tehran to abandon sensitive nuclear fuel cycle work.

Speaking after talks with his visiting Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Khatami, Mesic also voiced support for efforts to control proliferation of nuclear weapons.

"We hail negotiations which...Iran is having with three European countries, and are convinced that the Iranian leadership has entered those talks with good intentions," he said.

"Security and stability is a lasting orientation of Croatia's foreign policy. In that context we firmly support the policy of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons," Mesic added.

The European Union is trying to convince Iran to dismantle its fuel cycle -- seen by the United States as part of a covert atomic weapons development -- in return for economic and political rewards.

But, on Sunday Tehran criticized Britain, France and Germany saying they had "not shown any seriousness" in the talks so far.

Khatami, who did not comment on the issue, arrived on a two-day visit to Croatia Monday, on the first stop in a tour that will also take him to neighbouring Bosnia.

The two presidents hailed the January 30 elections in Iraq as an important step in stabilizing the region. Khatami voiced hope that they would soon lead to the departure of US-led troops.

"The elections in Iraq showed that people are aware and want a better future. I hope those elections will lead to creation of a strong and stable Iraq and that occupation will end soon," Khatami said.

Mesic said that warming ties between Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Israel were another good sign in the Middle East.

"We hail the first moves of Palestinian leader Abbas in which we see a good basis for restarting the (Middle East) negotiating process," he said.

Accords on economic, scientific and cultural cooperation between Zagreb and Tehran were signed following the meeting of the two presidents. Later Monday Khatami is scheduled to give a lecture at the Croatian academy of sciences and arts.

"There is a firm committment for cooperation of our countries," Khatami said after signing of the accords.

He was paying a return visit to the Balkans country at the invitation of Mesic who visited Iran in 2001.

Khatami was next to travel to Bosnia, although details of this trip have not been announced.

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