Germany favours direct US-Iran nuke talks
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Germany favours direct US-Iran nuke talks

German Foreign Minister urged the US for direct US-Iran talks on nuclear programme.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2006 00:25 IST

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged the US Government on Tuesday to address Iran's disputed nuclear programme in groundbreaking bilateral talks with Tehran on Iraq.

Steinmeier said ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran held the potential to break a deadlock in the protracted crisis.

He took up the issue with White House National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley after he arrived in Washington on Monday for a two-day visit.

"Based on reports that there are apparently talks taking place arranged by the American ambassador in Baghdad with the Iranian leadership about the situation in Iraq, I advised that the topics should not be limited just to Iraq but expanded to include one of the most urgent problems confronting us all: the suspicion that Iran, the Iranian leadership, is pursuing secret atomic weapons programmes," he told reporters.

Steinmeier said a debate had begun in the United States about direct US-Iranian negotiations on the nuclear issue, which he and his British counterpart Jack Straw backed, but noted the US Government appeared reluctant.

"We are oversimplifying the situation if we say that there is European pressure on the United States, on the American administration -- this is above all an internal American discussion," he said.

"But at the moment, I cannot see any signs that they are prepared to take part in such discussions."

First Published: Apr 05, 2006 00:25 IST