US to accept Iran`s offer of talks
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Last Updated: Saturday, September 12, 2009, 13:16
  
Washington: US will accept Iran's offer of talks but maintained that nuclear issue would be the central part of it, even as Tehran in its proposal has insisted that it would not negotiate over the future of its nuclear programme.

"We will seek an early meeting and we will seek to test Iran's willingness to engage," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley told reporters.

The meeting could be even before the annual General Assembly meeting of the United Nations in New York later this month.

"We are seeking a meeting because, ultimately, the only way that we feel we are going to be able to resolve these issues are to have a meeting. But it is not just a meeting for meeting's sake. It is a meeting to be able to see if Iran is willing to engage seriously on these issues," Crowley said.

"Clearly, from the standpoint of the international community, the central issue that we have is the nuclear issue. If we have talks, we will plan to bring up the nuclear issue. We will hope, as we said earlier this week in the IAEA, that Iran will choose to engage the international community to address the concerns that we have about the nuclear program," he said.

Observing that the Obama Administration wishes to have a direct dialogue with Iran, Crowley said: "We believe, and the President has said repeatedly, that we feel this is the way in which we will be able to, and hopefully can, resolve these issues."

Our objective is clear, he said, adding that it is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. "I don't think that we can resolve this issue any other way but through the kind of direct dialogue that leads to negotiation that we hope will lead to an understanding," he said.

Crowley said the meeting with Iran, along with representatives from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, would be at the Political Director level and efforts were being made to hold the meeting as soon as possible.

"We are seeking a meeting now based on the Iranian paper to see what Iran is prepared to do. And then, as the President has said, if Iran responds to our interest in a meeting, we'll see when that can occur," he said.

"We hope that would occur as soon as possible, and that as we head towards United Nations General Assembly, I expect there would be further meetings within the P-5+1. As the President has said, we would use this month to assess where we are in terms of our offer of engagement, and then that would lead to a conclusion by the end of the year as to what that approach has yielded," Crowley said.

Crowley hopes that there will be serious engagement.

Bureau Report


First Published: Saturday, September 12, 2009, 13:16


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