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EU discusses wider support for US engagement with Iran

London, May 15, IRNA - EU foreign ministers are to consider ways of offering further support for US President Barack Obama's new diplomatic approach towards Iran at their next General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels starting Monday.

"This discussion should be an opportunity to broaden the debate and again encourage the EU to consider how it can best support US engagement," Britain's Minister for Europe Caroline Flint said.

In a written statement to parliament published Friday, Flint said that the further consideration follows on from the conclusions of last month's council meeting when the EU backed the new direction in US policy to end 30 years of hostility with Iran.

Foreign ministers will also look to the Council secretariat during their two-day meeting "to update them on the Iranian response to the E3+3's invitation to recommence talks as soon as possible," she told MPs.

Last month's General Affairs Council welcomed the US change in policy as opening "a window of opportunity for negotiations on all aspects of Iran's nuclear program and more broadly for engagement with Iran."

Outlining next week's agenda, Flint said that the foreign ministers "stress the opportunity that the E3+3 offer presents to Iran and the necessity for the EU to give its foil backing to the renewed diplomatic efforts and the dual-track strategy."

All 27-member countries are being encouraged "to express their views on the most effective way forward" at the Brussels meeting, she said.

"We will encourage further discussions on Iran over the coming months in the EU as the diplomatic situation develops."

Foreign Secretary David Miliband will represent Britain at the meeting, which comes just a month ahead of the EU's biannual summit, which is being held for the first time under the Czech Republic as the current rotating presidency.

The agenda also includes preparations for next week's EU-Russia summit and discussions on Moldova, Georgia, Sri Lanka and illegal immigration.

A joint Foreign and Defence Minister's session is also due to be held to review progress on Bosnia and on the EU's counter-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia, while separately development minister are to discuss support for the economic crisis.

... Payvand News - 05/15/09 ... --

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