AP: A senior U.S. official suggested Monday that China and the U.S. agree on key issues involved in imposing a third set of U.N. sanctions against Iran for continuing to develop its nuclear program. The Associated Press
By GILLIAN WONG
SINGAPORE (AP) A senior U.S. official suggested Monday that China and the U.S. agree on key issues involved in imposing a third set of U.N. sanctions against Iran for continuing to develop its nuclear program.
China had no immediate comment.
Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said he had met with China’s assistant foreign minister, He Yafei, before they both participated in closed-door, high-level talks in Paris on Saturday with Britain, France, Russia and Germany.
China and Russia, both veto-wielding members of the Security Council, have been reluctant to support new sanctions.
“We were able, with the Chinese government, to focus on a number of areas where we would agree to sanctions,” Burns told reporters in Singapore, where he met with officials to discuss bilateral and regional issues. “Now if we can bring the Russians on board, we’ll have the makings of a third Security Council resolution and that would be very welcome news indeed.”
The pressure for new sanctions led by the United States, Britain and France mounted after Friday’s collapse of an 18-month EU effort to persuade Iran to stop uranium enrichment.
“I was particularly pleased of the fact that we made progress in our deliberations with the Chinese government,” Burns said. “There’s more work that needs to be done, but it was a step forward for us,” he said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment. In a notice on the ministry’s Web site posted Sunday, He was quoted as saying the international community should solve the Iranian nuclear issue diplomatically, but he did not mention sanctions.
Burns said the Russian government still had to be consulted on the sanctions resolution as the Russian official scheduled to attend the talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak, had been stuck in Canada because of snow.
A French diplomat had said following the talks that a compromise text on a new resolution would be circulated among the six countries involved in negotiations next week.
The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks, said he was “relatively optimistic” about having a resolution in the coming weeks.
While Iran insists it has a right to peaceful use of enrichment to generate power, Washington and others fear the activity could be misused to create the fissile core of nuclear warheads.
The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions in December 2006 and March this year. The current set bans Iranian arms exports and freezes the assets of 28 people and groups involved in its nuclear and missile programs.
Associated Press Writer Sophie Tetrel in Paris contributed to this report.