October 20, 2014 / 11:04 AM / 5 years ago

EU's Ashton to stay on until end of Iran nuclear talks

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton attends the Gaza international donors conference in Cairo October 12, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday she will continue leading nuclear negotiations with Iran until a deal is reached but is determined to meet a November deadline for an accord.

Her five-year term as EU foreign policy chief ends on Oct, 31, and she had said she would stay on as nuclear negotiator until Nov. 24, the deadline for reaching a long-term settlement with Iran over its nuclear program.

Asked if she would continue beyond that date if necessary, she told reporters at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg: “I have been asked to carry on until it’s done.”

Ashton, a Briton, negotiates with the Iranian delegation on behalf of the six powers involved in the talks: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

However, Ashton’s office stressed there was no suggestion of extending the high-stakes negotiations at this stage. “The deadline is Nov 24. Catherine Ashton is fully focused on getting a good deal by the deadline. We are not thinking about an extension,” said Ashton’s spokesman, Michael Mann.

Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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