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Turkey to host Iran talks 'soon'
Abdullah Gul, the Turkish president, announces resumption of previously failed talks on nuclear programme.
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2010 11:30 GMT
Abdullah Gul, Turkey's president, has said the Iran nuclear standoff can be resolved through diplomacy [EPA]

The Turkish president has said his country expects to host talks between Iran and six major powers on Tehran's controversial nuclear programme "some time soon".

Abdullah Gul's announcement on Monday comes after Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday that it was ready to hold talks with the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, known as the "P5+1", and that Turkey might be the best venue.

"As a result of more recent developments, you have also heard that Turkey will host the P5+1 meeting with Iran in Turkey and that is going to happen some time soon," Gul said at an event in England.

The P5+1 has previously offered talks beginning on November 15 in Vienna, the Austrian capital - an approach welcomed by Iran but not formally agreed to.

'Mixed signals'

However, Iran has also sent mixed signals over a resumption of talks.

A senior aide to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, has said that even if Iran did agree to the talks it would not negotiate about its nuclear programme.

Turkey, a Nato member and candidate for European Union membership, has developed closer commercial and political relations with Iran in the last few years.

Iran has continued to give no indication that it is prepared to compromise on any aspect of its programme [EPA]

Gul also said that Turkey believes the talks were important confidence-building measures and "steps towards a diplomatic solution".

Many countries continue to claim that Iran is using a civilian nuclear programme to conceal the development of nuclear weapons, an assertion the government has denied.

Tehran says it seeks nuclear energy only to generate electricity and other civilian use.

The failure of talks between Iran and major international powers one year ago led to a tightening of international sanctions against the country.

The eight-year-old stand-off has the potential to ignite a regional arms race. Israel and its main ally - the United States - have not ruled out a pre-emptive strike on Iran.

Gul added that Turkey had seen the consequences of war in the Middle East during the 1990s and during the war in Iraq.

"To have another war that involves a neighbouring country is not an experience that we would like to live through again. For this reason we are trying to ensure that these problems can be resolved through diplomacy," he said.

Source:
Agencies
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