Talks only solution to Iran nuclear issue: Gul

Last Updated: Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 21:56

Tehran: President Abdullah Gul said Turkey
backs a negotiated settlement of the Iran nuclear issue by
dialogue, as he prepared to travel to Tehran on his maiden
official visit, state media reported.

"Turkey wants a solution for Iran`s nuclear issue through
negotiations and dialogue," Gul told Iran`s official news
agency IRNA in what it said was an exclusive interview ahead
of the scheduled trip.

Gul begins a three-day visit on Monday which will see him
meeting top Iranian officials, including his counterpart
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He will also visit the cities of Tabriz
and Isfahan.

"Iran is signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a
member of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Thus, Iran`s
nuclear issue should be solved through negotiation and Turkey
will continue to facilitate this," Gul said.

Turkey`s ties with its eastern neighbour have markedly
improved since Ankara`s current Islamist-rooted government
came to power in 2002.

Last month, Turkey hosted talks between Iran and six
world powers aimed at allaying Western suspicions that Tehran
is secretly developing nuclear weapons, but no progress was
achieved.

In June, Turkey -- then a non-permanent member of the UN
Security Council -- irked the United States when it voted
against fresh sanctions the body approved against Iran,
arguing that a nuclear fuel swap deal it had negotiated
together with Brazil the previous month should be given a
chance.

Gul also places importance on the economic ties between
Ankara and Tehran.

"Both nations want to expand ties in all aspects," he
said.

"We will discuss political, economic and cultural issues.
Many Turkish investors and businessmen are travelling with me
and we will hold joint economic commissions."

PTI

First Published: Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 21:56
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