In a statement issued Wednesday after a meeting with foreign ministers from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the U.S.), the European Union’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, announced that the world’s major powers “seek an early negotiated solution” to the ongoing tension over Iran’s nuclear program.
We reaffirmed our determination and commitment to seek an early negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and focused our discussion on further practical steps to achieve it at an early date.
We are ready to engage with Iran in the context of implementing the understandings reached during the Geneva meeting of 1 October 2009, and look forward to an early meeting of the E3+3 with Iran.
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) called attention to the P5+1’s endorsement of the fuel swap agreement proposed at the Geneva meeting and the lack of any reference to the fuel swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil.
An ISIS statement read:
The P5+1 statement underlines the preference of the world powers to negotiate with Iran on a broader set of issues including the nuclear standoff, and to keep discussions on a fuel swap deal under its auspices, rather than a separate group involving Turkey and Brazil, which Iran has sought to bring in to talks.
The Geneva fuel swap agreement had stalled and, in May, a Brazilian and Turkish brokered deal received a tepid response from the White House and the UN Security Council, though it was endorsed by a leading retired U.S. diplomat and a group of proliferation experts.
Still, both the P5+1 and Iran put emphasis on diplomacy and negotiating a fuel swap agreement during this week’s meeting of the UN General Assembly.
At a breakfast meeting on Tuesday with journalists, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for new negotiations.
The Wall Street Journal’s Farnaz Fassihi wrote:
Mr. Ahmadinejad said the only path forward for the two nations was one of “dialogue based on respect and justice.”
And, in an interview in the Washington Post, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said:
On the Iranian nuclear issue, we have the capacity to help and I believe the U.S. administration has understood that, and they want us to continue to go that route.