20 February 2006

Secretary-General Welcomes 20 February Moscow Talks on Iran's Uranium Enrichment, Says Russia's Contribution to Bringing Sides To Negotiating Table 'Vital'

NEW YORK, 17 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General welcomes reports confirming that Iran will hold talks in Moscow on 20 February on a Russian proposal on uranium enrichment.  As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Russia's contribution to bringing all sides back to the negotiating table is vital.  He trusts that Iran will use the talks in Moscow and the period between now and early March to take the necessary steps to rebuild confidence that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes.  He hopes that Iran will respond positively to the resolutions adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Such steps would be welcomed by the international community, not least as the present situation has implications beyond Iran.  If not resolved in a timely manner, it will have negative consequences for regional and international security and for the future of the nuclear non-proliferation regime itself.  It is time for all those Governments who support and rely on this regime for their own and our collective security to help resolve this crisis in a way that maintains the regime's integrity and effectiveness.

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