The participants in the Iranian nuclear programme talks going on in Geneva this Saturday have been at it since the early hours following the decision by the world leaders’ foreign ministers to fly in, supposedly to clinch the deal.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany had already said Geneva was off the agenda this weekend for their ministers unless a deal were imminent.
“There are still differences which need to be bridged. That’s why we have come to Geneva, to play our part so that an agreement can be reached. It is realistic but there is still a lot of work to do,” said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
Westerwelle’s caution is not mirrored in Moscow, Beijing or Tehran. All three say the deal is close. Britain is also advancing cautiously.
“They remain very difficult negotiations, I think it’s important to stress that. We’re not here because things are necessarily finished. We’re here because they’re difficult and they remain difficult. There are narrow gaps but they are important gaps,” said British Foreign Minister William Hague.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is currently locked in talks with the US and Iranian foreign ministers.
For their part, the Iranians have just declared uranium enrichment will not be stopped in any agreement, and should figure in any understanding, and that the talks have been harder this time around. A declaration is expected before this evening.
“The theme of the negotiations is “complication”. What is obvious from today’s talks is that these complications are so extensive that the participants will probably settle for a temporary agreement or understanding that would lead to future negotiations aimed at clearing major obstacles,” says euronews’ Fariba Mavaddat.