Archive for the ‘dialogue’ Category

Arabs lament lack of dialogue on Iran nuclear crisis

November 9, 2008

Arab diplomats complained on Sunday about a lack of dialogue with the West over Iran‘s nuclear ambitions during a briefing on the crisis by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended the meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh alongside French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and their counterparts from Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

“The Arab countries wanted to be informed of the state of negotiations” between Iran and six major world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — said an official who attended the talks.

Another participant said the Arab diplomats expressed “deep concerns” at the meeting and complained of “insufficient dialogue” between Arab countries and the six world powers on the standoff over Iran’s nuclear drive.

Western nations led by the United States accuse Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons but Iran vehemently denies the charges, saying its programme is solely aimed at generating electricity.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah Bashir told the meeting that “the nuclear crisis became a crisis (for the West) but for us the Iranian surge for hegemony has become a crisis,” according to the participant who asked not to be named.

Sunni Arab governments like Egypt, Jordan and the six oil-rich Gulf monarchies have repeatedly expressed concerns over what they see as the growing influence of Shiite Iran in the region, namely in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Iran is under three sets of UN sanctions for failing to heed international demands to halt uranium enrichment but the major powers have offered Tehran technological, economic and political incentives if it suspends the process.


Israel cautions against Obama dialogue with Iran

November 6, 2008

Israel said Thursday U.S. President-elect Barack Obama‘s stated readiness to talk to Iran could be seen in the Middle East as a sign of weakness in efforts to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear program.

“We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue — in a situation where you have brought sanctions, and you then shift to dialogue — is liable to be interpreted as weakness,” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, asked on Israel Radio about policy change toward Tehran in an Obama administration.


Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaks during a Policy ... 
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaks during a Policy and Strategy Conference in Jerusalem October 5, 2008.(Baz Ratner/Reuters)

Her remarks sounded the first note of dissonance with Obama by a senior member of the Israeli government since the Democrat’s sweeping victory over Republican candidate John McCain in the U.S. presidential election Tuesday.

Asked if she supported any U.S. dialogue with Iran, Livni replied: “The answer is no.”

Livni, leading the centrist Kadima party into Israel’s February 10 parliamentary election, also said “the bottom line” was that the United States, under Obama, “is also not willing to accept a nuclear Iran.”

Obama has said he would harden sanctions on Iran but has also held out the possibility of direct talks with U.S. adversaries to resolve problems, including the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here in September ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here in September 2008, congratulated president-elect Barack Obama on his success — rare praise between the two countries which are archfoes.  Ahmadinejad once said “Israel should be wiped from the map.” (AFP/Getty Images/File/Jeff Zelevansky)

The West believes Iran’s nuclear enrichment program is aimed at building atomic weapons, an allegation the Islamic Republic denies.

Israel, believed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, has said Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to its existence and that it was keeping all options on the table to stop it.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller, editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Vatican wants dialogue with China

March 13, 2008

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican and its high-ranking clergy in China want to have a “respectful and constructive” dialogue with Beijing authorities over the role of the Catholic church there, the Vatican said Thursday.
Pope Benedict XVI looks on during a penitential celebration ... 
Pope Benedict XVI looks on during a penitential celebration in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican March 13, 2008.REUTERS/Tony Gentile (VATICAN)
The call came this week during a meeting of a special commission on China created by Pope Benedict XVI.
Among the participants at the meeting was Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, an outspoken champion of religious freedom who at times has drawn the ire of Beijing authorities.
The Vatican said in a statement that participants focused on issues concerning the life of the Catholic Church in China. The pope, who has made improving relations with China a priority, is keen to restore diplomatic relations with Beijing.

Read the rest:

China Rejects U.S. Criticism on Human Rights

March 12, 2008

BEIJING, China (CNN) — China’s foreign minister Wednesday rejected criticism of its human rights record, accusing the United States of “clinging to a Cold War mentality” and “practicing double standards.”
Chinese workers install a billboard ahead of the Beijing 2008 ... 
Chinese workers install a billboard ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. China’s foreign minister has hit out at critics of the country’s human rights record, accusing them of double standards while vowing their complaints would not tarnish the Olympic Games.(AFP/File/Teh Eng Koon)

Yang Jiechi was responding to questions about a State Department report released a day earlier that characterized China’s human rights record as one of the most repressive in the world.

The report was released five months before the Summer Olympic Games kickoff in Beijing.

Although he chided the United States and other critics of its human rights record as “making confrontation,” Yang stressed that China is “ready for dialogue with the United States, as long as it is done in an environment of respect and fairness.”

Read the rest: