China urges patience in Iran talks

Lavrov: UN will discuss nuclear program if Teheran fails to resolve issue.

February 6, 2010 02:03
3 minute read.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

yang jiechi china fm 311. (photo credit: AP)

China's foreign minister on Friday urged the world to be patient and keep up diplomatic efforts with Iran to try and find a solution to Teheran's nuclear ambitions.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told a gathering of the world's top defense officials that negotiations with Iran's government have "entered a crucial stage" and called for another round of talks involving the UN Security Council and Germany with the hope that a "mutually acceptable proposal" can be reached with Teheran.

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"The parties concerned should, with the overall and long-term interests in mind, step up diplomatic efforts, stay patient and adopt a more flexible, pragmatic and proactive policy," the Chinese diplomat said. "The purpose is to seek a comprehensive, long-term and proper solution through dialogue and negotiations."

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The comments at the Munich Security Conference came after Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki decided to join the meeting at the last minute. It was not clear whether Mottaki would attend the entire three-day conference, but he was scheduled to hold late-night discussions with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this week suggested he would at last agree to export a significant amount of uranium for processing. The UN is considering a fourth round of sanctions against the country for failing to rein in its nuclear ambitions.

Iran's moves appeared timed in part to defuse pressure by the US, Britain and France for more sanctions against Iran. UN Security Council members China and Russia are not convinced.

In Berlin on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle — both of whom are attending the Munich conference — said Iran must answer remaining questions about the nature of its nuclear program.

They stressed that they remained ready to continue negotiations toward a diplomatic solution. Westerwelle warned, however, that the international community's patience was "not infinite."
“For the past two years, Iran has repeatedly bluffed and played tricks … it has played for time,” Westerwelle said in a radio interview reported by Reuters, stressing that “we in the international community cannot accept a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Lavrov said he planned to meet Mottaki in Munich and urge him to submit information on Iran's nuclear program to the IAEA.

"Under certain circumstances, if there is no other possible solution, then we will have to discuss it in the Security Council," Lavrov told reporters.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made it clear that the Obama administration's position has not changed.

She said the Iranian government has been unclear in its intentions regarding the possibility of accepting international urgings to negotiate on the nuclear matter.

"The fact is we haven't really seen much in the way of response" from Iran, she told reporters in Washington. "Sometimes we see response from a part of the government that is then retracted from another part of the government."

She reiterated that the focus is now on sanctions.

"We have, in good faith, engaged in diplomacy with the Iranians," she said. "We've always had a two-track process, and we think it is important that we move now toward looking at what pressure, what sanctions, can be brought to bear on the Iranians. We're going to continue to reach out to all of our colleagues in this effort, including, of course, China." staff contributed to this report.

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