Latest update: 05/06/2010
German, Russian leaders hail 'major advance' on Iran sanctions deal
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday that world powers had made a "major diplomatic advance" and were close to approving a new round of sanctions on Iran for its suspected nuclear ambitions.
By News Wires (text)
REUTERS - The leaders of Germany and Russia said on Saturday that world powers were on the verge of approving a new round of sanctions against Iran for its nuclear work.
World powers are at loggerheads with Iran over its uranium enrichment programme, which they believe is a cover to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran says its nuclear work is for the peaceful generation of electricity.
Germany and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- have been discussing a fourth round of sanctions for months and Washington has said a vote is likely next week.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking at a joint news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev north of Berlin, described the consensus among world powers on the issue as a "major diplomatic advance" and said she expected the U.N. to move quickly.
"It is possible that in the near future the sanctions can be approved by the U.N. Security Council," Merkel said.
"I am very happy that we can stand here together today and say this is a common position, including not only the European Union, the United States and Russia, but also China," she added.
The United States and Europe overcame reservations in China and Russia, which have strong trade ties to Iran, and forged agreement on a draft sanctions resolution last month.
"The situation is such that an agreement on sanctions almost exists," said Medvedev, adding that no one wanted to impose sanctions, but sometimes they were necessary.
"We hope that the voice of the international community will be heard by the Iranian leadership," he said. "One cannot continue behaving irresponsibly. It is important to listen to what is said in the international arena."
On the topic of the economy, Berlin and Moscow agreed a stable euro was crucial for global financial stability and sustainable growth, Merkel and Medvedev said.
Merkel said Russia and Germany also broadly agreed on questions of financial market regulation, which would be addressed at a meeting of the Group of 20 industrial and emerging economies later this month.