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Europe

Iran Must Fulfill Obligations, says Rice

Following a meeting with Britian's Tony Blair on Friday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said an attack on Iran was "not on the agenda." In Berlin, she said Iran should live up to its international obligations.

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Rice and Schröder during a light moment at the press conference

On her first official visit to Europe in the post she took over from Colin Powell one week ago, Rice said it was up to Iran to live up to the obligations placed on it by the international community to keep it from developing nuclear weapons.

The United States has accused Iran of pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program. But Iran says its nuclear endeavors are limited to peaceful power generation.

In reference to the diplomatic work done by France, Great Britain and Germany in getting Iran to comply with international nuclear regulations, Rice said that Washington was in discussion with "our EU colleagues on a solid message to the Iranians, that that is a necessity."

"It can only work if there is a unity of purpose and unity of message to the Iranians," said Rice. "The European three are giving the Iranians an opportunity to demonstrate that they are prepared to live up to international obligations ... and I really do hope the Iranians will take the opportunity."

Schröder for diplomatic solution

Rice said that up until now, that hadn't been the case. Though Rice and President George W. Bush, who will follow her to Germany later in February, have taken a hard line on Iranian

Condoleezza Rice

"We have diplomatic means to do this."

compliance, Rice told reporters in London earlier in the day that the question of the attack was "simply not on the agenda. We have diplomatic means to do this."

Chancellor Schröder told reporters that his government would continue to look for a "political and diplomatic solution" to the problem.


"I think the steps taken so far are the right ones," Schröder said.


The two also discussed Germany's contribution to training Iraqi police in the United Arab Emirates and Schröder's offer to expand the program. President Bush's visit to Mainz at the end of the month was also on the agenda and Schröder said he was "looking forward" to the visit.

Discusses Middle East peace with Blair


Earlier in the day, Rice had breakfast with Prime Minister Blair. Rice thanked Blair for his leadership and Britain's support "as we try and spread freedom and democracy to the world, as we work to support the Iraqi people in their quest and most especially ... as we try to bring to the Israelis and Palestinians the chance for a lasting peace."

Middle East peace has been high on Blair's agenda, and the Prime Minister referred to ending the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians as high on his wish list following Bush's re-election.

Condoleezza Rice bei Tony Blair

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, greets U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

While speaking to reporters on the plane ride to Britain, Rice also urged Arab states and other countries to boost their aid to finance Palestinian reforms after Washington announced a $350 million (€270 million) assistance package.

"Absolutely we need to encourage others to contribute," she said.

Rice's next stops in Europe will be Poland and Turkey. She will then head to Israel and the West Bank before returning to Europe and visiting Italy, France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

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