CHINA / National

China, Russia agree to consider sanctions over Iran
Updated: 2006-07-13 10:15

China and Russia have agreed to support a United Nations resolution demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment or face economic penalties, France's foreign minister said after a major-power meeting in Paris.

Philippe Douste-Blazy, after conferring with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and their counterparts from the U.K., China and Russia as well as Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, said the issue of Iran's nuclear program would be returned to the UN Security Council. He expressed the group's "profound disappointment" over Iran's refusal to respond to an offer of incentives to stop enriching activities.

The council was deadlocked early last month before Solana presented Iran with the package of incentives. China and Russia, veto-bearing members of the Security Council, opposed a U.S.- backed measure demanding that Iran stop enrichment activities and threatening sanctions and the use of armed force.

The group in Paris adopted a statement saying they would seek a Security Council resolution that would make it "mandatory" that Iran stop enriching uranium. In the event of non-compliance, the statement said they would negotiate a measure that invokes the UN Charter's authorization of "complete or partial interruption of economic relations" and "severance of diplomatic relations."

"We don't have any choice but to go back to the UN Security Council and restart the process we started two months ago," Douste-Blazy said. "We launch an appeal to Iran to respond positively."

"Iran has failed to take the steps needed to allow negotiations," the French foreign minister said, in a statement on behalf of the entire group.

London Talks

The U.S. and the Britain are among countries that say they suspect Iran is concealing a weapons program. Solana's office said he would travel to London tomorrow for talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair that will include a discussion of the dispute with Iran.

At the UN in New York, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said he would begin talks today on the draft resolution that was under discussion before the Security Council deadlock. He said the U.S. wanted to get action on a measure condemning North Korea's ballistic missile tests before moving forward on Iran next week.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, called for patience yesterday after he met in Brussels with Solana. Larijani repeatedly has said Iran won't be held to a strict deadline to reply to the EU offer, which includes trade incentives and technology assistance.

"We had hoped that Mr. Larijani yesterday would transmit an answer" on the incentives offer, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow told reporters accompanying President George W. Bush to Stralsund, Germany, where he is meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel before the Group of Eight summit.
Page: 12


Related Stories