Bush, Merkel Hold Firm Against Iran Nuclear Program | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 04.05.2006
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Bush, Merkel Hold Firm Against Iran Nuclear Program

After meeting with US President George W. Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the US and Germany were in "total agreement" on the need to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.


Bush and Merkel during their meeting

The German leader called on other nations to show similar resolve.

"We ... think that it is essential in this context that the clear resolve of the international community is shown by standing united, by showing cohesion on this matter," Merkel said. "What is also essential, and indeed crucial in this context is that we try to draw as many partners as possible into the fold to clearly show to the Iranians that this is unacceptable."

Merkel's two-day US visit -- her second to the United State since coming to office in November -- also included discussions on the way forward with the Hamas-led Palestinian administration.

Bush to visit Germa n y i n July

The two leaders also agreed that Merkel would return the favor in a few months' time, hosting the US president for a July 14 summit, including a tour of her adopted home district, where, she said Bush would have the chance to see how "I lived on the other side of the (Berlin) wall."

The White House meeting was held amid rising concern about Iran's nuclear intentions, following confirmation last week that Tehran had defied a UN deadline to halt uranium enrichment, which heightened fears in the West that the Islamic republic intends to

develop an atomic weapon.

Iran, however, insists that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.

To thwart any possible nuclear weapons development by Iran, Washington and Europe want to invoke Chapter 7 of the UN Charter -- language that would open the way for sanctions and possibly even force as a way to freeze Iran's nuclear activities.

Britain, France submit draft resolution

The transatlantic summit came as France and Britain on Wednesday circulated a draft resolution in the UN Security Council that would legally oblige Iran to comply with UN demands that it freeze uranium enrichment but does not call for sanctions.

Although not a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Berlin has been a key player in a series of meetings with the Security Council's five permanent members designed to work out a common policy towards Iran.

Merkel's talks with Bush, and a dinner Wednesday to be attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Washington's UN Ambassador, John Bolton, are part of a whirlwind of diplomatic activity ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers from the six countries in New York on May 9.

Germany has held months of negotiations with Tehran on behalf of the European Union, alongside France and Britain.

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