Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced he will join his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Tehran for talks on Iran's disputed nuclear programme
AFP - Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a last-minute change of plans, said Sunday he will attend talks on Iran's disputed nuclear programme in Tehran.
Erdogan had said as late as Friday he was unlikely to join Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on the trip because of Iran's failure to confirm a commitment to a UN-brokered deal backed by world powers.
But at a meeting in the western Turkish city of Izmir on Sunday, Erdogan said that "from Izmir we are going to go to Iran, and tomorrow to Azerbaijan, then from there to Georgia and Spain", Turkey's Anatolia news agency said.
Davutoglu was also due to travel to Iran on Sunday, a Turkish diplomatic source said earlier.
Iran had invited Turkey for talks to coincide with the visit of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a Turkish diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Lula was in Tehran on Sunday for a non-aligned summit that the United States and Russia have said might offer Iran's last chance to avoid tough new UN sanctions.
Turkey and Brazil are both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council which have so far resisted US-led efforts to push through a fourth package of sanctions over Iran's failure to heed repeated ultimatums to suspend its uranium enrichment activities.
Both countries have tried in recent weeks to get Iran to resume contacts with the West and agree to a UN-brokered deal.
Diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff have focused on UN-drafted proposals in October for Iran to ship out most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium in return for a supply of nuclear fuel by the major powers.
Iran has repeatedly baulked at the idea of shipping out its stockpile before its receives the fuel for a Tehran medical research reactor and has demanded that the exchange happen simultaneously and on its own soil.
Last week, however, its ambassador to Brazil, Mohsen Shaterzadeh, said that an exchange in a third country might be acceptable.
Turkey, which although a close Western ally also has close relations with its eastern neighbour, has repeatedly offered to act as that third country.
It has also offered to arrange and host talks between Iran and the EU's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton.
On Friday, Erdogan had said that he would not travel to Iran because Tehran had not confirmed its commitment to the UN fuel deal with Turkey.
Date created : 2010-05-16