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11/3/04

Solana says higher-level EU-Iran contacts necessary to achieve breakthrough

Brussels, Nov 3, IRNA -- The European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana Tuesday voiced optimism over the course of current EU-Iran talks to find an amicable solution to Europe's concerns about Iran's peaceful nuclear program.

"The contacts with the Iranians continue. We have had some meetings which have been progressively more constructive as time goes on," Solana told a press conference in Brussels at the end of an EU foreign ministers meeting Tuesday evening.

He said there will be another EU-Iran meeting in the coming days at the level of political directors, in apparent reference to the EU3 (Germany, France and the UK)-Iran meeting in Paris on Friday.

"If necessary there will be a meeting at different levels. In fact, having a meeting on a higher level will be necessary to have a real breakthrough," stressed Solana, one of the main architects of the European bloc's policy of dialogue and engagement with the Islamic Republic.

"But I want to tell you very honestly that in the last two meetings some progress has been made," stated the EU foreign policy chief.

"Is that sufficient? Is progress made at that level be maintained at an higher level? Still we don't know," he said.

"But in any case, I have not lost the hope that we may do something between the period from now and the next report of the IAEA," added Solana.

Solana sent his representative to the two rounds of EU3-Iran talks held last month in Vienna, the seat of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

For his part, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, whose country holds the current EU presidency, told reporters that Iran is on the agenda of the EU summit that will be held in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

He said the IAEA Board of Governors will be meeting later this month in Vienna to decide on Iran's nuclear program.

"In the run-up to that meeting three EU member states were involved in negotiation process with Iran with a view to achieving a package of solution-stimulating measures coupled with the possibility of sanctions," he said.

"We are concerned with the uranium enrichment program and request to have that properly suspended and verified by the IAEA.

"Their refusal to envisage such suspension of the program may under the rules of the IAEA lead to a referral to the UN Security Council," warned Bot.

The Dutch minister said the IAEA governing body will decide on November 25 whether or not this particular case is still to be referred to the UNSC.

"We of course fully endorse the efforts made earlier by the IAEA which involve full suspension of all enrichment activities," he added.

... Payvand News - 11/3/04 ... --



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