AFP: EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana confirmed Thursday that he would hold talks with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, in Portugal this weekend. BRUSSELS, June 21, 2007 (AFP) – EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana confirmed Thursday that he would hold talks with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, in Portugal this weekend.
“I can confirm the meeting Saturday with Larijani in Lisbon,” he told reporters here.
The two men have been holding a series of talks aimed at resolving the crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme, which is feared to be a cover for an atomic weapons drive.
The oil-rich Islamic republic insists it only wants to make nuclear fuel to meet its growing energy demands.
Iran has been slapped with two sets of UN Security Council sanctions and it is likely to face a third for its refusal to suspend sensitive enrichment work, the process which makes nuclear fuel and the fissile core of an atom bomb.
Solana and Larijani last met on May 31 in Madrid, without breakthrough.
The EU diplomat is trying in “talks about talks” to persuade Iran to begin formal negotiations on its nuclear programme, which would see Tehran suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for political and economic incentives.
Solana spokeswoman Cristina Gallach said he would leave Brussels around midday on Saturday even if an EU summit, starting Thursday, he is attending had not wound up.
Solana was reluctant to discuss his talks with Larijani, saying he preferred to wait until after the two men met.
Gallach declared herself, “neither optimistic, nor pessimistic” ahead of the talks.