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Rice, UN SC counterparts discuss long-term strategy on Iran issue

Written by: Staff

Washington, May 10 (UNI) The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have moved beyond negotiating a resolution to charting a long-term strategy to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions, US officials said here.

The foreign ministers of the United States, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom -- the five permanent Security Council members -- met privately with their German and European Union (EU) counterparts in what was described as a ''long and intense discussion'' lasting almost two hours yesterday.

It was their third meeting on Iran since January. Diplomats said there was significant change and continued progress in defining strategic objectives. The foreign ministers felt that ''there had to be a long-term agreement on the overall strategy that will then inform the course of the work at the Security Council,'' according to official sources.

All the six nations agree that Iran should not develop a nuclear-weapons capability, should suspend its current nuclear programme, abide by all the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and UN Security Council requirements laid down in various resolutions, and should return to negotiations, the sources said.

Still unresolved is whether a Security Council resolution should be adopted under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which would make Iran's compliance mandatory and set the stage for further action.

France and the United Kingdom presented a draft resolution -- currently being negotiated at UN headquarters -- that would be adopted under Chapter 7 provisions. China and Russia have objected to that clause, seeking to ensure that additional Security Council action would be needed to impose sanctions on Iran.

The ministers agreed that their permanent representatives at the United Nations would continue to work on the resolution and political directors would meet in Europe the week starting May 15 to continue work on the longer-term strategy.


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