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Italy PM urges Iran-EU talks "as soon as possible"

Written by: Staff
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ROME, Sep 8 (Reuters) Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi today met Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, urging him to break a diplomatic deadlock over Tehran's nuclear programme with talks ''as soon as possible''.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said he planned to meet Iran's Ali Larijani on Saturday, a meeting which US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said would take place in Vienna.

But Prodi's spokesman told Reuters that Larijani said only that the talks with Solana would take place ''in the coming days'', without specifying when and where.

A statement issued by Prodi's office was also cautious.

''(Prodi) made an appeal so that the expected Solana-Larijani meeting may take place as soon as possible, in the hope that from this (meeting) useful details may emerge to relaunch dialogue,'' the statement said.

The statement added that Italy, one of Iran's biggest trade partners, had supported the incentives offer that Solana presented to Iran in June in return for halting nuclear fuel work. The Prodi statement said that offer was in Iran's interest.

REUTERS SBA KP2350

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