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11/17/05

EU foreign ministers to discuss Iran ahead of IAEA meeting

London, Nov 17, IRNA-EU foreign ministers are set again to discuss relations with Iran at their next General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) meeting in Brussels on Monday, disclosed Britain's Europe Minister Douglas Alexander.

"The Council will have a further stocktake of EU-Iran relations following the November 7 GAERC," Alexander told MPs in a written statement to parliament, published Thursday.

"We can expect the nuclear portfolio also to be discussed given the proximity of the November 24 International Atomic Energy Agenda (IAEA) Board meeting," he said in outlining items on the Council meeting's agenda.

Britain, the current presidency holder of the EU, is being represented at the meeting by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Defense Secretary John Reid and International Development Secretary Hilary Benn.

In their last review of the EU's overall relations with Iran on November 7, the GAERC agreed to relations 'under close review' after describing recent developments as 'discouraging'.

On Wednesday, Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman reiterated that British policy is to maintain diplomatic contacts with Iran to address 'serious concerns' on a wide range of subjects.

"We do not underestimate the difficulty in making progress, but these issues are too important for us to ignore. Our policy is to bring our concerns to Iran's attention, engage Iran in discussion and look for solutions," he told parliament.

With regard to Iran's nuclear program, Triesman confirmed that Britain was still seeking support in the UN Security Council even though there had been only limited success.

"That is not an easy matter and not everybody cooperates with it, but that seems to us to be the right perspective, which we should pursue," he told his fellow peers.

... Payvand News - 11/17/05 ... --



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