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EU, China say Iran's nuclear issue should be solved by IAEA

Brussels, Dec 9, IRNA -- The European Union and China have welcomed the recent agreement between E3 and the Islamic Republic on Tehran's suspension of enrichment activities.

A joint statement issued after the EU-China summit in the Hague Wednesday afternoon said, "China and the EU appreciate their respective efforts in facilitating a political resolution of the Iran nuclear issue.

"China and the EU welcome the agreement reached between France, Germany and the UK, supported by the High Representative, and Iran on Iran's suspension of enrichment related and reprocessing activities.

"Both China and the EU hope that progress will be made in the negotiations of the EU with Iran on a mutually acceptable agreement on long-term arrangements, that should include objective guarantees that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, and that the Iran nuclear issue will be resolved within the framework of IAEA at the earliest opportunity," said the statement.

It noted that China appreciates the efforts of EU members in encouraging Libya's denunciation of its WMD programs through diplomatic negotiations.

For its part, the EU appreciates and supports China's positive and constructive role in facilitating a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.

"China and the EU reaffirm in this context their support for a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons."

International issues like North Korea Burma/Myanmar, Iran and Afghanistan, the fight against illegal migration, economic issues textiles were discussed during the seventh annual EU-China Summit.

However, the EU arms embargo on China was the main topic discussed in the one-day meeting.

The EU told China that it would not lift its arms embargo imposed after the Tiananmen Square events in Beijing in 1989.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, the current president of the EU Council, said the EU gave a positive signal during the talks but the embargo will not be scrapped for the moment.

For his part, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabo expressed his appreciation to the EU side for giving a positive signal.

"The arms embargo is a product of the Cold War and is no longer consistent with the trends of our time and with our partnership with the EU.

"Lifting the arms embargo against China does not mean that China will start importing large amounts of arms from Europe but it will mean the abolition of political discrimination against China," he said.

The EU is linking the lifting of the arms embargo with issue of human rights.

The two sides signed a joint declaration on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and arms control and agreements were also concluded on customs co-operation, and science and technology.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said China is emerging as a global player.

"Developing the relationship will be one of the major priority of the Commission. I believe this is in the interest of both sides to strengthen this long term strategic relationship," he said.

... Payvand News - 12/9/04 ... --

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