EU: No Military Attack Planned Against Iran
02 September 2005
The European Union says there is no plan to attack Iran and that the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program must be resolved diplomatically. The EU foreign ministers have concluded two days of talks in Newport, Wales.
The EU is again appealing for Iran to resume negotiations to stop its uranium enrichment program in exchange for economic and political rewards.
But the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw say that, although the stalemate drags on, no country is contemplating military attack against Iran.
Mr. Straw spoke for the EU foreign ministers in Britain's capacity as the current president of the 25-nation bloc.
"Nobody's proposing military action in respect of Iran," said Jack Straw. "Nobody whatever. It is not on anybody's agenda at all. This is an issue, which needs to be resolved, and can only be resolved, by diplomatic means."
The dispute with Iran is approaching a climax. A report is due Saturday by the chief of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency, Mohamed ElBaradei. And the International Atomic Energy Agency could refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions at a September 21 meeting.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful, and it will not give up uranium enrichment that experts say could produce bomb-grade material.
The EU ministers also report no breakthrough in a dispute with aspiring member Turkey over Ankara's refusal to recognize the government of Cyprus, which joined the EU last year.
Turkey is due to begin EU accession talks on October 3, but the Cyprus issue is clouding those talks.
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told Britain's Economist magazine, Ankara might give up on EU membership, if pre-conditions, such as recognizing Cyprus, are applied to the negotiations.
Mr. Gul and the Cypriot foreign minister, George Iacovou, met the EU ministers Friday.
Mr. Straw says he remains reasonably confident the talks with Turkey will begin as scheduled, pointing out there are other territorial disputes between EU members. He mentioned Gibraltar, which is held by Britain but claimed by Spain.
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