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Afghanistan, Iran Lead Clinton Agenda for European Trip

By VOA News
10 October 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton departed late Friday for a five-day trip to Europe and Russia.

The trip will be filled with high-level talks about the war in Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear ambitions and a new pact to control nuclear arms in the U.S. and Russia.

Clinton will first visit Zurich, Switzerland, Saturday to witness the signing of a historic pact normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia.

She is also scheduled to visit Britain to discuss Afghanistan, and make stops in Belfast and Dublin to push for further reconciliation efforts in Northern Ireland.

Iran will be high on the agenda Tuesday, when Clinton is set to meet with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

The U.S. is pushing for continued pressure on Iran, which has said it will allow U.N. inspectors into its recently revealed nuclear facility near the city of Qom.

Russian officials have also expressed their concern about Iran developing nuclear weapons.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

U.N. nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei met with Iranian officials in Tehran Sunday and announced the Qom facility inspection will take place October 25.

ElBaradei also said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has no concrete proof that Tehran has an ongoing weapons program.

Iran has agreed to meet with world powers on October 19 for direct talks on its nuclear program.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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