Berlin, 8. October 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Maintain international unity toward Iran"

08.10.2007

Berlin, 8 October 2007 - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik met today with her German colleague Frank-Walter Steinmeier for bilateral talks. Their meeting focused in particular on the EU Reform Treaty and Iran.

"Austria and Germany are working closely together in the treaty negotiations. The detailed work mandate of last June must be precisely implemented", commented Plassnik on the current work on the EU Reform Treaty. "I took this opportunity to stress Austria’s urgent interest in achieving a lasting solution to the problem of access to universities. Germany understands the issue and supports our efforts to find a solution. I cannot accept that there can be no solution for a fair system of university access. Austria cannot admit all German students that have no access to German universities as a result of the numerus clausus applied there. It must be possible to reach a quick and lasting solution through concerted efforts by the European Commission and the Member States."

With regard to Iran, Plassnik emphasized the central role played by Germany in the Iran Contact Group. "Iran must be clear about one thing: the international community is united in its rejection of Iranian nuclear weapons. We must maintain this unity in our future approach as well. The necessary pressure on Iran is most effective and convincing when it is based on broad international support", said Plassnik, adding that "The ball is now in Iran’s court. It can choose between further isolation or the return to the path of dialogue. I believe that El Baradei’s proposal for a double time-out - stop of uranium enrichment and suspension of sanctions - is a promising approach. It shows a feasible way out of the spiral of sanctions and escalation."

In connection with the Kosovo status, the Minister also underscored the need to reach an acceptable solution as soon as possible: "We must now invest all our energy in the current negotiation process. We must all be aware, however, that the solution of the Kosovo status is above all a European issue. Wolfgang Ischinger, the EU representative in the Kosovo troika has repeatedly stressed this. Insisting on positions of principle or unilateral actions are not recipes for the future, and are not taking us a single step further. Especially Belgrade is called upon to take the initiative and present new ideas - after all, it was the Serbian side that rejected the Ahtisaari plan", said Plassnik.

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