Merkel, Medvedev say Iran sanctions underway

10:52, June 06, 2010      

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev give a press conference at the Meseberg Residence, 60 kilometers north of Berlin, Germany, June 5, 2010. The United Nations Security Council has reached consensus on imposing new sanctions against Iran, although it is not the best way to solve the problem, Medvedev said here on Saturday. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)

The United Nations Security Council has reached consensus on imposing new sanctions against Iran, although it is not the best way to solve the problem, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said here on Saturday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a two-day informal meeting with Medvedev at the Meseberg Residence, 60 kilometers north of Berlin. Their topics covered Iran's nuclear program, financial market regulation, currency stability and EU-Russian relations.

"An agreement on imposing sanctions is already there," Merkel said at a joint press conference. "But no one wants sanctions. We hope that the voices of international community can be heard by the Iranian leadership. It is the only way that we can solve the complicated issue."

Medvedev said the world needs unity in response to Iran's nuclear program: "Either we all stand together or we drift off in different directions, which would be the wrong thing to do."

He said he knew sanctions were not the best option and still hoped such actions were not needed.

Merkel stressed that "the time has come now when such sanctions must be imposed if nothing changes considerably ... and it is possible that the UN Security Council will approve the sanction in the near future."

"It is a joint position" of the five permanent members of the Security Council and the European Union, which can be viewed as "a major diplomatic progress" over years of debate on how to deal with Iran's sensitive nuclear program.

Russia traditionally opposed imposing new sanctions on Iran, saying that the nuclear disputes should be solved through negotiation and diplomatic channel. The West suspects Iran's bid to enrich uranium is aimed at building a nuclear warhead, while Tehran firmly denies it and insists on its right to a peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The two leaders also proposed to explore the establishment of an EU-Russia Political and Security Committee on the ministerial level, which could serve as a platform for exchanging views on world affairs and enhancing cooperation between the two sides.

On the recent European debt troubles and euro's fluctuation, Medvedev said that the EU could find efficient ways to get over those difficulties and Russia wanted a "stable and predictable" euro, which was also in the interests of the global financial system.

"We agreed here that the stability of the euro is a core duty for stable development," said Merkel, adding that the G20 (Group of 20) summit, to be held in Toronto of Canada later this month, would address "the topic of sustainable growth, as well as financial market regulation, upon which Russia and Germany have already got great agreement."



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