Foreign ministers of world powers have failed to agree on a unified position on how to tackle the Iranian nuclear crisis, after a meeting in New York.
A senior state department official said prospects for an agreement this week on a UN Security Council resolution were "not substantially good". Last week, the US and other states tabled a draft resolution urging Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. The US has also dismissed a letter from Iran's leader as proposing nothing new.
The letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - thought to be the first from an Iranian president to a US leader since Iran's 1979 revolution - was dispatched via the Swiss embassy in Tehran on Monday. In it, he proposed "new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world", Iranian officials said on Monday. But US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it did not help resolve the nuclear stand-off.
"This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort. "It isn't addressing the issues we are dealing with in a concrete way," she told the Associated Press news agency.
On Monday, Security Council foreign ministers, plus that of Germany, met in New York but failed to agree on a resolution on Iran.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Iran should let the UN get involved if they want nuclear power
After the late-night meeting, a senior unnamed state department official said agreement was unlikely this week but said discussions would continue with a meeting of political directors of the Security Council next week. However the official said the US was "very satisfied and confident" at the stage the process was at.
Leaving the meeting, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said ministers were "still considering" their work. The BBC's diplomatic correspondent James Robbins says that far from drawing the key powers at the United Nations towards agreement on how to confront Iran the meeting seems to have exposed the scale of division.
The UK's newly-appointed foreign minister, Margaret Beckett, acknowledged the meeting had been important but difficult. She refused to repeat her predecessor Jack Straw's insistence that military action against Iran was inconceivable. Mrs Beckett said she preferred to make clear that no-one was discussing military action, and that that language was far more welcome to the Americans.
Last week, Western powers introduced a draft resolution calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment or face unspecified "further action". The US has accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Iran strongly denies. Washington has pushed for any resolution to be adopted under the terms of Chapter Seven of the UN Charter. These are binding on all UN members, but do not automatically lead to sanctions or military action. Further decisions would be needed for such measures.
But China and Russia have resisted such a move, fearing it could lead to a new war. "I think a Security Council resolution is needed," China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters before a meeting of UN ambassadors on Monday. But he added the resolution "has to be appropriate".
Source: BBCLast Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16