VIENNA, Austria - Six world powers agreed Thursday on a "significant" package
of incentives to persuade Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program, British
Foreign Secretary Margaret Becket said.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy
and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice listen to Britain's Foreign
Minister Margaret Beckett, from left, during a press briefing after a
meeting at the British Residence in Vienna, Thursday June 1, 2006. Six
world powers meeting to discuss the crisis over Iran's nuclear program
agreed Thursday on a 'significant' package of incentives to convince
Tehran to halt uranium enrichment, Beckett said.
"I am pleased to say we have agreed
(on) a set of far-reaching proposals," she said. "We believe they offer Iran the
chance to reach a negotiated agreement based on cooperation."
She added that "if Iran agrees not to engage in negotiations, further steps
will have to be taken."
Additionally, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Russia and
China were considering joining the United States and three key European
countries in any nuclear talks with Iran if there was a basis for negotiations.
After a meeting by France, Britain, Germany, the United States, Russia and
China, Becket said "we urge Iran to take the positive path" and promised to
suspend Security Council action against Tehran if it agreed to halt enrichment.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with the foreign
ministers from the European nations that led stalled talks with Iran last year,
and also with representatives of Russia and China. Russian and Chinese support
is crucial to attach the threat of United Nations sanctions or other punishment to the package of incentives.
At the White House, President Bush warned that the
confrontation would end up at the U.N. Security Council if Iran continues to enrich uranium.
"If they continue their obstinance, if they continue to say to the world `We
really don't care what your opinion is,' then the world is going to act in
concert," Bush said after meeting with his Cabinet at the White House.
Bush said he got a "positive response" in a telephone
conversation on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding, "We expect Russia to participate in the United
Nations Security Council. We'll see whether or not they agree to do that."
Bush also spoke about Iran on Thursday with Chinese
President Hu Jintao. He said little about that conversation, saying, "They
understood our strategy." The U.S. would need cooperation by Russia and China,
Security Council members, before that body could act.