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Annan confers with Iranian minister on nuclear

Annan confers with Iranian Foreign minister on nuclear, regional issues

Meeting at United Nations Headquarters with Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Motaki, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today reiterated his suggestion that the country speed up its response to recent international proposals on ending the impasse over its nuclear development programmes, while also discussing issues of regional importance.

The Secretary-General “expects that ongoing technical negotiations will continue among the parties,” according to a read-out of the meeting provided by Mr. Annan’s spokesman.

Earlier this month, in Geneva, Mr. Annan had also urged an early answer to the offer of incentives by the five Permanent Security Council Members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US) and Germany in return for Iran’s abandoning its uranium enrichment programme.

Speaking to reporters before today’s meeting, Annan recalled those contacts with Mr. Motaki in Geneva. “I indicated after my discussions with the Foreign Minister that I was under the impression I did not think they will give their answer before the G8 summit. I didn’t go as far as to say mid-August, and I hope it is still possible for them to give an answer before mid-August, but I will pursue that with the Minister,” he said.

Iran says its activities are aimed at the production of energy but the United States and other countries insist it is clandestinely seeking to produce nuclear weapons. Last August, Iran rescinded its voluntary suspension of nuclear fuel conversion, which can produce the enriched uranium necessary either for nuclear power generation or for nuclear weapons.

Mr. Annan and Mr. Motaki also exchanged views on Iraq in the context of the meeting of regional partners that Iran is expected to convene in its capital Teheran early this month.

Among other regional matters, they discussed Afghanistan, including collaboration between that country and Iran on border security and combating drug trafficking.

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