Syria, Iran, CAR on agenda as EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels
Monday, January 20, 2014 - 01:03
Jan. 20 - EU foreign ministers arrive to discuss Iran's nuclear deal, the upcoming Syria peace talks and sending a possible military mission to the Central African Republic. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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European Union foreign ministers arrived in Brussels on Monday (Jan 20) to discuss Iran's nuclear deal, the upcoming Syria peace talks and sending a possible military mission to the Central African Republic. system.scripts.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog is expected to give the green light on Monday to the full implementation of an interim deal with Iran, struck in November.
Reacting to the invitation made last night by the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Iran to participate in the talks, British Foreign Secretary William Hague called for Tehran to first make clear it accepts the mandate of the previous round of peace talks, known as Geneva-1.
"As you know the Secretary General of the United Nations has extended an invitation to Iran on the basis that they understand that the basis of the conference is the full implementation of the original Geneva communiqué, a transitional governing body," Hague told reporters as he arrived for an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels. "I think it would be very helpful to hear that publicly from Iran for everybody to be able to see their commitment and their understanding of that. That I think would be very helpful now in bringing these peace talks together and we will be giving that message to Iran," Hague said.
The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she hoped a new round of negotiations with Iran on a definitive settlement to a decade-old nuclear standoff could start within a few weeks.
"Depending on how things work out today, I hope that we will start talks within the next few weeks. I will be discussing with my colleagues from the E3+3 in the next couple of days and also talking with Iran and then we will be able to give you an answer, but soon is the word, and I mean it, as you know," she told reporters.
During the meeting, the foreign ministers will also discuss the upcoming Syria peace talks scheduled to start on Wednesday in Montreux, Geneva.
The key players in the talks are Assad's government and opposition rebels who have been fighting for nearly three years to oust him.
The ministers are also set to approve the broad outline of a plan to send EU peacekeeping troops to help stabilize Central African Republic. It would be the EU's first major army operation in six years.
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