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. EU's Solana holds 'inconclusive' nuclear talks with Iran
BRUSSELS, Aug 4 (AFP) Aug 04, 2008
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana held "inconclusive" talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on Monday but further contacts are possible, a spokesman said.

"The conversation was not conclusive," said the Solana spokesman, as world powers awaited a response from Tehran to an incentive programme aimed at persuading it to freeze its uranium enrichment programme.

"Fresh contacts are not ruled out in the coming days," he added.

Solana informed the representatives of "the group of six" powers involved in the talks -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- of his discussions.

Iranian state-run television reported that in the telephone conversation, "both sides agreed to continue talks."

"They also emphasised that preserving this path (talks) needs a positive and constructive atmosphere," the television report said without elaborating.

The United States had demanded that Iran meet a deadline of last weekend to respond to an international package of incentives aimed at persuading Tehran to freeze uranium enrichment amid warnings of new sanctions.

But an EU diplomat said on Friday: "If it's in 16 days instead of 14 it's not a problem. We are not obsessed with a date."

In Tehran earlier Monday, new foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi told reporters the talks would take place, saying: "Negotiations are an ongoing process and the question of deadline is media speculation."

Solana presented an offer of economic and trade incentives in mid-June, while Iran has put forward its own proposal, an all-embracing package of suggestions to resolve the problems of the world, including the nuclear issue.

The West fears Iran's atomic programme is a cover for making nuclear weapons, a charge vehemently denied by Tehran which says it needs nuclear power to produce electricity for a growing population.

At the last meeting between Jalili and Solana on July 19 in Geneva, Solana asked for a response in two weeks to the package drawn up by the permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.

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