Turkey still wants to host nuke talks: Turkish foreign minister

Turkey still wants to host nuke talks: Turkish foreign minister

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey still wants to host nuke talks: Turkish foreign minister

This photo shows Turkish FM Davutoğlu (R) with his Iranian counterpart, Salehi, in Ankara. Davutoğlu tells Tehran Turkey still wants to host talks on Iran’s nuclear drive. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkey is still ready to host nuclear talks between Iran and Western countries, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told Iran’s chief negotiator in a phone conversation late April 5, a diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The Turkish minister’s call brought up Tehran’s proposal for the negotiations to be held in Baghdad or Beijing, instead of Istanbul, a venue Iran had suggested previously. Iran said Turkey’s stance on the Syrian crisis caused it to change its position.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials expressed unease to the Turkish ambassador in Tehran about Turkey’s premier criticizing its neighbor as being dishonest.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 5 that Iran’s proposal to hold talks on its disputed nuclear program in Damascus or Baghdad instead of Istanbul was insincere.

Ali Bargheri, deputy of Iran’s chief negotiator, summoned Turkish Ambassador Ümit Yardım to discuss Davutoğlu’s phone conversation with negotiator Saeed Jalili, the diplomat said. 

Remarks made by both Turkish and Iranian officials were discussed during the meeting where parties also cited “good relations between Turkey and Iran,” the diplomat said.

Bargheri informed the Turkish ambassador that they would announce the venue for nuclear talks in a couple of days.

Tensions between neighbors Turkey and Iran rose this week after a senior Iranian figure spoke out against Turkey hosting the nuclear talks following the meeting in Istanbul on Sunday of the “Friends of Syria” group of countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s close Arab ally.

In the meantime, the European countries of the P5+1 group have begun discussions to set up a new place for the upcoming talks, another diplomat told the Daily News. Among a number of cities, Geneva of Switzerland seems to have a higher chance of hosting the nuclear talks. Because of discussions about the venue, the meetings slated for April 13 and 14 will begin with a few days delay, sources said.

US still expects talks in Istanbul

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse 

The United States said April 5 that it still expected Iran’s talks with six powers on the Islamic republic’s disputed nuclear program to go ahead next week, despite a dispute over the venue.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said the talks would open April 13 in Istanbul. But Iran later said that Turkey was not an acceptable host. “We are still expecting this to take place next week. But there’s certainly some degree of urgency” in finalizing details, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. “It was our expectation that this was going to be in Istanbul,” he said.

“It’s not for us to say one place over another, but it’s important that we start to nail this down.” Toner said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was working with Iran to determine the details of the talks.