Monday, October 10, 2005

Rice to hammer out Iran strategy with European powers

Reuters reports:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will hammer out a joint strategy with European powers over how to curb Iran's suspected nuclear arms programs on a trip later this week to France and Britain, a senior State Department official said on Monday.

Rice, who will add the two stops on her return from a trip to Central Asia which begins on Monday, needs to find a way to coax Iran back to the negotiating table where Britain, France and Germany are leading the talks.

Rice, who is expected to be in Paris on Friday and London on the weekend, does not plan to visit Germany because a government has yet to be formed there after a tight election.

On her trip, the three nations will also work out how much pressure to exert on nations, especially Russia, that help Iran with its nuclear development. Washington has sent mixed signals on its policy towards nuclear suppliers in recent weeks.

Other priorities in Rice's talks will include Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and political developments in Lebanon, said the U.S. official who asked for anonymity since the European visit had not been formally announced.