Russia denies invitation to hold meeting on Iran n-problem

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Moscow, Mar 24: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ivanov today ( Mar 24, 2006) denied that Moscow has received any official invitation to hold a meeting of the UN Security Council's Foreign Ministers, on Iranian nuclear problem.

''I have not heard of any official invitation to hold a ministerial meeting in any format on Iran,'' Mr Lavrov told reporters at a briefing.

He was referring to a statement by the US ambassador to the UN John Bolton yesterday to the effect that before the 15 Security Council members pass a resolution on Iran, the P-5 Foreign Ministers should hold talks on the issue.

''We have a rule that ambassadors don't make decisions for ministers,'' the minister pointed out.

Mr Lavrov said he was aware of a document available on the Internet that allegedly outlined a strategy on Iran drafted by the United States, Germany, France and Britain, and kept secret from Russia.

''It would be strange if this information were confirmed,'' he said adding ''We have been trying to convince our partners to adopt a joint action plan on Iran for the last several months.'' However, he stressed that the issue could be discussed thoroughly at the level of Foreign Ministers if Russia received an official invitation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had referred the Iranian nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council on March 8.

Russia has proposed alternative solutions to the Iranian nuclear problem, including setting up a joint venture on Russian territory to enrich uranium for Tehran, on which the two countries have conducted several rounds of talks, without any final results.

UNI

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