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No meeting of US, Iranian presidents on UN General Assembly sidelines

September 25, 2013, 13:19 UTC+3

It was too difficult to match the schedules of the officials

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UNITED NATONS, September 25 (Itar-Tass) - There will be no personal meeting between the U.S. and Iranian Presidents - Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani - on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, contrary to previous assumptions, representatives of the U.S. administration told a press briefing on Tuesday. They are members of the U.S. delegation, which arrived in New York to participate in events within the General Assembly session.

According to these U.S. officials, it was too difficult to match the schedules of the two countries’ presidents for such a meeting. The Iranian side has turned out to be not ready for organising such a contact, one of these U.S. government officials claimed.

He said that the U.S. side had publicly and privately informed the Iranians that it was open for discussions on the UN GA sidelines informal discussions, not a bilateral meeting. For the Iranians at this stage (the organisation of such an informal meeting) was too difficult, taking into account their internal political dynamics.

He specified that the possible meeting of Obama and Rouhani had been discussed for several days. It was about the organisation of an “informal brief contact,” and nobody considered the possibility of (a full) official bilateral meeting or negotiations of any kind, said the U.S. administration official.

Nevertheless, the Washington administration official said, the interaction between the United States and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear problem settlement continues at the working level. The U.S. side itself is not ready for conducting negotiations on ways to overcome the crisis over Tehran’s nuclear programme by the Iranian and U.S. presidents, the officials states at the briefing. From Washington’s viewpoint, said that the U.S. representative, negotiations on Iran’s nuclear dossier should be conducted in the “5+1” format group with the participation of the ministers of foreign affairs of all the states involved. The Six includes Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, the United States and France. The EU coordinates the efforts of the “5+1” group.

In the U.S. view, the real work on the settlement of this issue, that is, Tehran’s nuclear activities, should be carried out through meaningful negotiations rather than a brief meeting between the U.S. and Iranian presidents, one of the U.S. officials said at the briefing. He stated these negotiations would be held at the level of foreign ministers within the framework of the “six process” later this week, as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton had already announced in New York on Monday. She made ··the statement after a meeting with the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

According to the American press, the U.S. and Iranian presidents last had a personal meeting 36 years ago. Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Tehran on April 7, 1980, after the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

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