This article from Reuters is the proof of what Golitsyn, Nyquist, Olavo de Carvalho and bloggers like me and Perilous Times know a long time: China and Russia are still comrades in their struggle against America. Read on.
Russia, China want talks not sanctions on Iran
Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:14 AM GMT
By Oleg Shchedrov
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and China made clear on Tuesday they did not favour U.N. sanctions to induce Iran to scale back its nuclear programme, advocating more negotiations.
Their comments revealed a continuing lack of consensus among world powers over whether the U.N. Security Council should take up Iran's case and what action it should consider.
Germany earlier said Council members remained at odds on the Iranian nuclear issue after talks in London on Monday among the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
Washington and its European Union allies say EU-led talks with Iran have failed to quell suspicion that Tehran is seeking a nuclear bomb, despite its denials, and it is time the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency sent the case to the Security Council.
The Council could eventually decide to impose diplomatic or trade sanctions on Iran, though this would depend on the consent of its five permanent members, including Russia and China.
"The question of sanctions against Iran puts the cart before the horse. Sanctions are in no way the best, or the only, way to solve the problem," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
He said years of international sanctions against Iraq had failed to change the behaviour of ousted leader Saddam Hussein.
Moscow's $1 billion stake in building Iran's first atomic reactor gives it potential leverage over Tehran.
President Vladimir Putin hinted on Monday that Moscow was losing patience with Iran after it resumed nuclear fuel research last week, but he warned against any "abrupt, erroneous steps".
He also said after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on Monday that Russia, European countries and the United States had "very close positions" on Iran.
Lavrov told a news briefing that Russia's offer to enrich uranium for Iran remained on the table. Tehran has sent mixed signals on the idea, which has tentative EU and U.S. support.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said his country favoured EU diplomacy to resolve the crisis.
"So we think the most urgent thing for all the parties now is still to keep patient and make utmost efforts to resume the negotiations between the EU3 and Iran," he said.
China said last week that resorting to the Security Council might "complicate the issue", citing Iran's threat to hit back by halting snap U.N. inspections of its atomic plants.
Britain, France and Germany ended more than two years of talks with Iran last week after Tehran removed U.N. seals on equipment for enriching uranium in a research programme that could further its quest for nuclear energy -- or for bombs.
"We hope the Iranian side can cooperate with the efforts by the international community to restart the diplomatic negotiations and resolve the nuclear issue properly," said Kong, whose country gets 12 percent of its oil imports from Iran.
German Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler confirmed that the London talks had produced agreement on convening a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on February 2.
But he said world powers that met in London on Monday were still divided on the purpose and content of a planned IAEA resolution referring Iran to the Security Council.
"We remain in talks about what should be decided there and what the role of the United Nations should be," Erler said, referring to the meeting of the IAEA.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana had said he was confident China and Russia would back the EU in sending the issue to the Security Council. In their comments on Tuesday, neither country said it would block referral at the IAEA.
Erler said it remained important to seek a diplomatic solution to the impasse over Iran's nuclear programme.
"Western states and the Europeans are ready at any time to restart talks, but only if Iran fulfils the pledges it has made," he said.
(Additional reporting by Noah Barkin in Berlin and Chris Buckley in Beijing)