President Sarkozy of France and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, said they were determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, during a press conference ahead of ceremonies to mark the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Sarkozy insisted both countries were united in their intent to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Tehran could have “peaceful” nuclear power, he said, “but not a military nuclear capability.”
Sarkozy, who met Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday, said: "I told him first of all that they have to welcome President Obama's outstretched hand”.
Obama added that letting Iran develop a nuclear bomb would be "profoundly dangerous" and would lead other Middle East states to call for the same. He also slammed the recent North Korean nuclear test, describing it as “extraordinarily provocative”.
Towards a two-state solution in Palestine
Two days after his landmark Cairo speech to the Muslim world, Obama also said that he expected the Palestinians and Israel to engage in “serious, constructive negotiations towards a two-state solution” by the end of 2009.
“I do not expect that a 60-year problem is solved overnight but, as I have said before, I do expect both sides to recognise that their fates are tied together,” he added.
Obama sees the Israeli-Palestinian progress as crucial to repairing the United States’ tarnished image in the Muslim world.
FRANCE 24’s international affairs editor, Gauthier Rybinski, underlined the link between the Iranian nuclear deadlock and the Palestinian issue: “Obama basically told Israel – fix the Palestinian problem and Iran will lose its role as protector of the Palestinians”
Disagreement over Turkey’s EU bid
Although both leaders see Turkey as a crucial bridge between East and West, Obama and Sarkozy openly disagreed on the outcome of the Turkish EU membership bid.
While Obama supports Turkey’s EU bid, Sarkozy flatly refuses to grant full membership to the 76-million-strong nation
"I told President Obama that it's very important for Europe to have borders,” Sarkozy replied. “For me Europe is a force for stability in the world, and I cannot allow that stabilising force to be destroyed.”