Turkey ready to help, EU expects progress in Iran nuke talks

Davutoglu said that Turkey was ready to extend any assistance if the P5+1 or Iran made such a demand during the negotiations.

Turkey ready to help, EU expects progress in Iran nuke talks

European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said on Thursday that she was looking for progress in negotiations next week between world powers and Iran over its nuclear programme.

The talks, set for Jan. 21-22 in Istanbul, between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N Security Council and Germany, known as the P5+1, were agreed last month in Geneva when the two sides resumed long-suspended negotiations.

Tehran's nuclear ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh was quoted this week as saying the talks in Istanbul could be the "last chance" for the West because Tehran's atomic capability is improving.

Addressing a joint news conference in Istanbul with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Ashton said she did not want to respond to such statements.

"Suffice to say that I'm very clear what I want to see is progress next week," she said, adding that the P5+1 had a clear agenda.

"We set out very clearly from our perspective what we are discussing and let's see where we get to."

"Turkey ready to help"

Davutoglu said that Turkey was ready to extend any assistance if the P5+1 or Iran made such a demand during the negotiations.

Yet our role in this process is hosting the negotiations in a comprehensive manner, Davutoglu said.

We are very pleased to be able to host the nuclear negotiations in Istanbul, Davutoglu said.

It is not merely Turkey, Catherine Ashton and Iran but the whole world that wants to solve Iran's nuclear issue peacefully, Davutoglu said.

Istanbul used to be remembered as the "city of peace" in the past. We hope that Istanbul will facilitate peace in Iran's case, Davutoglu also said.

Ashton's visit to Istanbul took place right after the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Europe's new diplomatic service.

Earlier in the day, Davutoglu held talks with Ali Baqeri, a deputy to Iran's nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. Baqeri met Chinese officials in Beijing on Wednesday.

Brazil and Turkey agreed on fuel swap deal with Iran in mid-2010 for an exchange of nuclear material, but the major powers rejected the deal and imposed fresh sanctions on Iran.

Turkey voted against the U.N. sanctions last year. Turkey has growing economic ties with neighboring Iran and is a major buyer of Iranian gas.


Agencies

Last Mod: 14 Ocak 2011, 10:44
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