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Solana 'at odds' with UK over Iran's nuclear proposals

London, May 5, IRNA-Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, is "at odds" with the UK over Iran's latest proposal over reaching long-term arrangements regarding its nuclear programme, the Financial Times said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Solana was quoted as saying that the EU demands for complete cessation of uranium enrichment and related activities was a "starting point."

He hinted at a possible compromise that could be acceptable to the EU short of its original demand by suggesting that a solution "pretty close" to full cessation could be acceptable.

Elsewhere in the paper, the Financial Times reported that British Government officials have warning that the diplomatic process to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme had reached an "impasse."

"The talks with the Iranians have not been brilliant to say the least," one official was quoted saying. "There is a risk of that breaking down," he said.

Another official was said to warn that "each side's position is not acceptable to the other."

He added that the negotiations were "not heading for an immediate crisis in the next week or two, but Iran is a major issue that will have to be dealt with."

The daily also said that Solana's comments "clashed with recent statements by the Bush administration demanding full cessation and dismantlement of Iran's nuclear enrichment-related programme." The divisions come after last week's talks in London between Iran and the EU, led by the UK, France and Germany ended inconclusively, when it had been hoped there would have been a positive response to Iran's proposals.

According to the Financial Times, the issue of nuclear proliferation will require the attention of Prime Minister Tony Blair, if as expected he wins a record third term at the general election on Thursday.

"If re-elected tonight, he is likely to spend much of his time on the world stage, using his influence to try to forge a global consensus on tackling weapons of mass destruction" and could expect a "period of tricky diplomacy" over Iran and North Korea, it said.

... Payvand News - 5/5/05 ... --

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