AFP: China said Thursday that more time was needed to try to solve the international stand-off with Iran over its nuclear program through diplomacy, amid a push by Western nations to impose sanctions. BEIJING, Dec 7, 2006 (AFP) – China said Thursday that more time was needed to try to solve the international stand-off with Iran over its nuclear program through diplomacy, amid a push by Western nations to impose sanctions.
“The issue should be settled peacefully through dialogue and consultation,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang replied when asked about US comments that the time may have come for a UN Security Council vote on sanctions.
“The actions taken by the Security Council should be conducive to this goal, and it is our belief that we should give more time to diplomacy.”
Diplomats from key powers China, Britain, France, Russia, the United States and Germany met in Paris on Wednesday to discuss potential sanctions against Iran for defying an August 31 deadline to cease enriching uranium.
Several of the countries, especially the United States, fear that despite Iran’s insistence that it is pursuing civilian nuclear energy ambitions, it is in fact intending to build a nuclear arsenal.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said the six world powers had agreed in Paris that some sanctions must be imposed, although there was no consensus on how tough they should be.
Russia and China — which have strong economic interests in Iran — had tried to water down a draft Security Council resolution drawn up by France, Britain and Germany, while the United States has sought to harden it.
The European draft would bar trade with Iran in goods related to its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and impose financial and travel restrictions on persons and agencies involved.
Following the Paris meeting, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States believed the time may have now come to take the issue to the Security Council.