EU's Solana 'probably' going to Iran Sunday for nuclear talks
LJUBLJANA, June 9 (AFP) Jun 09, 2008
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will probably travel to Tehran on Sunday for talks aimed at convincing Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, he told AFP Monday.
"The date fixed will probably be the 15th," of June, he said after arriving in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana on the eve of an EU-US summit.
Solana will present Iranian leaders with a "refreshed" offer on behalf of the six major powers involved in the nuclear talks -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- who came up with the deal last month to follow an original offer in June 2006.
Solana refused to give details; "We will have several meetings in Tehran with various people and we will see. I am not going to speak now about the contents of the package," he said.
However he stressed that Iran must "really give objective assurances," to show that its "nuclear programme is a nuclear programme for the production of energy only." The West in general and the United States in particular remains sceptical about this claim.
The six powers have for months been following a twin-tracked approach with Tehran.
On the one side they have applied UN sanctions, with three sets already adopted by the Security Council. On the other side they have offered cooperation, in attempts to get Iran to end its uranium enrichment programme, which they fear is part of an atomic weapons programme.
US President George W. Bush hopes to use the EU-US summit to press EU leaders to apply more strictly restrictions on Iranian banks, US Special Envoy for EU Affairs C. Boyden Gray told reporters ion Ljubljana ahead of the summit.
Bush's trip to Slovenia comes at the start of what may be his last tour of Europe before he leaves power.
Iran has steadfastly refused the international plea till now, assuring that its nuclear programme is solely intended for generating electricity for a fast-growing population.
In a joint statement to be published after Tuesday's summit at Brdo, near Ljubljana, the EU and the US hold out the threat of further sanctions.
"We will fully and effectively implement" the existing UN sanctions against Tehran "and we are ready to supplement those sanctions with additional measures," says the joint text, seen by AFP.
"There are Iranian bank activities that could be curbed, there could be further restrictions in compliance with resolution 1803," adopted in March by the UN Security Council to beef up measures against Tehran, Boyden Gray said.
Both sides must "make sure there are no evasions whereby Iranian banks can continue to do business to further this nuclear programme which I think we all agree must be terminated," he added.
The Europeans have said they are prepared to take a tougher stance on Iranian financial institutions but are waiting to see what comes out of the new cooperation offer which the major powers are about to put to Tehran.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.