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Much to be done yet to solve Iran nuclear problem — Putin

February 09, 2015, 5:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia makes a significant contribution to the settlement of the issue, president Putin said in an interview with Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram on the eve of his visit to Cairo

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MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday he is contented with the way the settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem is proceeding but added that much needs yet to be done to solve it.

When asked what measures Russia takes to settle the problem over the Iranian nuclear program, Putin said: "I can say with no exaggeration that Russia makes a significant contribution to the settlement of the situation around the Iranian nuclear program."

"Our position is based on a belief that Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear activity including uranium enrichment, naturally under control of the IAEA," he said in an interview with Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram on the eve of his visit to Cairo.

"It was not an easy task to convince our partners from the P5+1 to agree with this approach. At first, we continuously asked all the parties involved to sit down at the negotiating table and start a serious discussion of the ways to resolve this problem," Putin said.

"We tried to convince them that there was no alternative to the political and diplomatic settlement. Then, we proposed a conceptual framework to advance along this way - the principles of the stage-by-stage movement and reciprocity. And such an approach was supported by all the participants in the process," he said.

"The negotiations are well under way now. Substantial progress has been made. However, we have not managed yet to produce a final comprehensive solution either regarding the Iranian nuclear program itself or the prospects of lifting the sanctions," Putin said.

"We expect the efforts in this field to be continued. The crucial point is that nobody should try to derive unilateral benefit from the situation or to bargain out more than what is needed for a balanced and just resolution of this complicated issue," he said.

The P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France plus Germany) and Tehran have agreed to extend the deadline for an agreement in the talks on Iran’s nuclear program to June 30.

Iran says it needs nuclear power to generate electricity, but Western powers led by the United States claim Iran’s eventual aim is to create nuclear weapons.

About Syria situation

Russian President Vladimir Putin said dialogue should be organized between the Syrian authorities and opposition for them to work out a compromise without interference from outside.

In an interview with Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram on the eve of his visit to Egypt, Putin said "the approaches of Russia and Egypt toward the situation in Syria are close: our states speak in support of unity and sovereignty of Syria, consistently say that there is no alternative to political and diplomatic settlement."

"We have similar views of priority steps to solve the Syrian crisis. This is first of all the launch of an intra-Syrian dialogue without preliminary conditions and outside interference, on the basis of the principles of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012," the Russian leader specified.

He recalled that "Cairo is hosting meetings of the Syrian opposition designed to work out a common platform from which it could speak at talks with the Syrian government," while "Moscow recently hosted a consultative meeting of representatives of various Syrian opposition groups, civil society and official Damascus’ delegation."

"The efforts of Russia and the work of Egyptian partners complement each other, aim to overcome stagnation in the political settlement of the Syrian crisis, as well as are called upon to help arrange dialogue between the Syrian government and its political opponents for them to be able to find mutually acceptable compromises and conclusions on their own, without outside pressure," Putin said.

The Russian president said he had talked about that in detail with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at last year’s meeting in Sochi.

"We will discuss the issue closely in Cairo now as well," he said.

According to UN statistics, fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011.

An international peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2, organized by Russia and the United States and designed to negotiate a solution to the Syrian crisis, kicked off on January 22, 2014 in Montreux, Switzerland. Its first two rounds in January and February 2014 brought no particular progress. The parties to the Syrian conflict agreed to continue their discussions.

The Geneva Communique was adopted on June 30, 2012 at a conference of an "action group" on Syria in Geneva. That conference is now commonly referred to as "Geneva-1.".

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