Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:29 am (KSA) 21:29 pm (GMT)

China set to help craft UN sanctions on Iran: US

China's President Hu Jintao (L) is welcomed by US President Barack Obama in Washington
China's President Hu Jintao (L) is welcomed by US President Barack Obama in Washington

United States President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed late Monday to jointly push for new nuclear sanctions on Iran, U.S. officials said, heralding an apparent diplomatic breakthrough, as French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that his country will not give up its nuclear weapons.

Injecting momentum into the drive to punish Tehran, Hu and Obama instructed their delegations at the United Nations to work together on a draft resolution, the officials said, as Obama seeks to enact toughened sanctions within weeks.

Hu's entourage was less specific after the talks, but said that the United States and China shared the "same overall goal" on Iran, after months of U.S. efforts to secure Chinese cooperation on "biting" new sanctions.

China-US agreement

 The two presidents agreed the two delegations should work together on a sanctions resolution in New York 
Jeff Bader, Obama's senior director for Asia on the National Security Council

The new China-U.S. unity followed a swift warming of relations, after multiple rows and Beijing's previous reluctance to contemplate new sanctions on Iran.

"The Chinese very clearly share our concern about the Iranian nuclear program," said Jeff Bader, Obama's senior director for Asia on the National Security Council.

"The two presidents agreed the two delegations should work together on a sanctions resolution in New York," Bader said, after the two presidents met ahead of a 47-nation nuclear security summit in Washington.

Ma Zhaoxu, spokesman for the Chinese delegation, reiterated that even as China joins talks at the U.N., it also wanted a stalled dialogue between world powers and Iran to go on, in an effort to resolve the confrontation.

Washington and its allies say Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons, a claim Iran denies.

President Sarkozy, meanwhile, said as global leaders gathered for the summit on nuclear security that France will not give up its nuclear weapons, because doing so would "jeopardize" its security.

"I cannot jeopardize the security and safety of my country," Sarkozy told CBS News hours before Obama opened the landmark summit in Washington.

"Dangerous world"

 I cannot jeopardize the security and safety of my country...And I could not give up nuclear weapons if I wasn't sure the world was a stable and safe place 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy

The French leader said he could not abandon his nation's nuclear weapons program "on a unilateral basis, in a world as dangerous as the one in which we live today."

He also hinted that countries like the United States and Russia should take the lead in whittling down their own huge nuclear stockpiles, rather than expecting France, which has a much smaller number of atomic weapons, to disarm.

"You have to realize, we're a country of 65 million inhabitants," he said.

"We have fewer conventional weapons than the US, than Russia, than China, for that matter…I have inherited the legacy of the efforts made by my predecessors to build up France as a nuclear power. And I could not give up nuclear weapons if I wasn't sure the world was a stable and safe place," he added.

Sarkozy also signaled his support for new U.N. sanctions against Iran, warning that Tehran's potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon is "dangerous and unacceptable."

"Patience has its limits and we have come to a time now where we need to vote sanctions..." he told CBS.

But he stressed that any new sanctions against Tehran must not be so watered down by the U.N. Security Council that they end up having no impact on the leadership of the Islamic republic.

"The best solution is the unity of the Security Council," Sarkozy said.

Iran has become increasingly defiant, as Russia and China -- veto-wielding members of the Security Council -- have moved towards the U.S. position.

Iran, along with North Korea, was not invited to the summit, and says it won't be bound by any decisions made here.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »