New York, 20. September 2006 Press release

Plassnik: "Dialogue to be sought also with difficult partners"

20.09.2006

Foreign Minister meets Iranian counterpart in New York

New York, 20 September 2006 – "We always seek dialogue and constructive talks with partners, even when they are difficult. A precondition is, however, that the other side also contributes its share, and creates the necessary basis for trust. With regard to the nuclear issue, Iran must actively cooperate in order to create the conditions for a solution-oriented dialogue," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik in New York today, following a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

"We do not seek conflict with Iran, but relations based on partnership. This includes our expectations that Iran, as an important regional power, will exert a positive influence in the region, and play a responsible role in the Middle East," continued the Foreign Minister.

"The constructive talks on the nuclear issue held between Javier Solana and Ali Larijani on 9-10 September were an encouraging sign. We hope that continued contacts will result in satisfying the requirements for substantial negotiations," said the Foreign Minister, stressing that the EU and the community of states were united in their support for Javier Solana's endeavours to achieve a diplomatic resolution of the issue through negotiations.

"Iran must re-establish confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. This is why direct talks are so important, as this is the only way of clarifying any misunderstanding that exists," continued Plassnik. In this context the Foreign Minister stressed that Vienna had proved useful once more as a venue for dialogue. "It was not solely the unique package of incentives that was prepared in Vienna this June; the recent encouraging talks between Solana and Larijani also took place in Vienna. The trust placed in us is also based on our longstanding and useful contacts, for example within the framework of dialogue between religions and cultures," continued Plassnik.

It was in this context that the Foreign Minister recalled the Conference on Islam in a Pluralistic World, held in November 2005, which was attended by former Iranian President Chatami and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, two eminent guests from Iran. "The dialogue between religions and cultures is indispensable for a peaceful existence in a common world. I therefore hope that we will continue to cooperate in this area," concluded Plassnik.

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