Envoy says US to hold 'direct talks with Iran'

The administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush was pushing for a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over nuclear program.

Envoy says US to hold 'direct talks with Iran'

The US ambassador to the United Nations has said the new Obama administration will engage in "direct diplomacy" with Iran.

"We look forward to engaging in vigorous diplomacy that includes direct diplomacy with Iran," Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters after 45 minutes of closed-door discussions with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in comments that were among the clearest indications that President Barack Obama wants to try a new approach in dealing with Iran.

The administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush was pushing for a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over nuclear program.

But the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany -- known as the "P5+1" -- had put discussions on next steps with Iran on hold until the administration of Barack Obama was in office, council diplomats have said.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs later clarified Rice's remarks, saying Washington will use "all elements of our national power" in dealing with Iran's nuclear program.

Gibbs said Rice was restating campaign comments made by Obama and should not be seen as suggesting a new diplomatic initiative by the United States.

In her first encounter with reporters at the United Nations, Rice gave no specifics about what lay ahead for Iran.

"Dialogue and diplomacy must go hand-in-hand with a very firm message from the United States and the international community that Iran needs to meet its obligations as defined by the (U.N.) Security Council and its continued refusal to do so will only cause pressure to increase," Rice said.

Rice said the 15 Security Council members would take up the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in the wake of Israel's three-week military attack against the Palestinian enclave.


Agencies

Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2009, 15:40
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