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Iran Must Suspend Enrichment Before Talks With US Says Bush

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (L) shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) during a meeting in Tehran, 27 November 2006. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Tallinn (AFP) Nov 28, 2006
The United States supports talks between the Iraqi government and its neighbours but will not talk directly to Tehran unless it suspends uranium enrichment, US President George W. Bush said on Tuesday. "Iraq is a sovereign nation which is conducting its own foreign policy," Bush said in Estonia, shortly before heading to neighbouring Latvia for a summit of NATO leaders.

Iran and Syria are accused of fomenting the spiraling sectarian unrest in Iraq, and it was thought the United States might seek talks with both countries in its desperation to stop Iraq sliding into full-blown civil war.

The two countries are also seen as key players in Lebanon.

Instead, Iraqi leaders have themselves held talks with Tehran and Damascus, with Iraq's President Jalal Talabani meeting Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday.

"I hope the talks yield results," Bush said. "One result that Iraq would like to see is for the Iranians to leave their country alone. If Iran is going to be involved they ought to be involved in a constructive way."

But he added: "As far as the United States goes, Iran knows how to get to the table with us and that is to do that which they said they would do, which is verifiably suspend their (uranium) enrichment programmes."

"The idea of this regime having a nuclear weapon by which they can blackmail the world is not acceptable ... There is a better way forward for the Iranian people.

Bush travels to Jordan on Wednesday for talks there with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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North Korea is ready for six-nation talks on its nuclear program after winning extra bargaining clout with its first atomic test, its top negotiator said Tuesday as he met US and Chinese diplomats. Kim Kye-Gwan headed straight into meetings here with Christopher Hill, his US counterpart at the six-nation forum, and chief Chinese negotiator Wu Dawei after flying into the Chinese capital early Tuesday.

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