Brussels meeting to launch consultations for EU-Iran negotiations

(IRNA) - A meeting between EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and Iran's National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani in Brussels Thursday will be their first since the EU foreign policy chief presented a new package to Tehran on June 6 to resolve the nuclear issue.

"It will be the first meeting that should start consultations for negotiations with Iran," Solana's spokesperson Cristina Gallach told IRNA in Brussels Wednesday, reports Trend.

Gallach said "it is important to have a contact tomorrow," adding that Solana and Larijani will meet over dinner Thursday and then meet again in Brussels on Tuesday.

"It is important that we start listening to the Iranian side on our proposal," she said.

Asked by IRNA if the EU was setting any deadline for a reply from the Islamic Republic, Gallach replied: "We are not using the language of deadlines."

She noted, however, that the Group of Eight (G8) summit meeting at St Petersburg will be held on July 15 and "it would be good to listen to an initial Iranian response to the European offer." The contents of the EU package, which has the support of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, has not been made public.

Larijani said the new proposal contains "positive steps" and "ambiguities" after meeting Solana in Tehran last month.

Meanwhile, Solana issued a statement Wednesday saying he "was surprised to hear that Dr Ali Larijani has decided at the last minute to postpone his trip to Brussels, as previously agreed with him, to take place today (Wednesday). "

"We want to proceed rapidly to examine together the ideas I put to him early last month," he said.

EU sources are speculating that the cancellation of Wednesday's meeting between Larijani and Solana was related to the presence of Maryam Rajavi, a leader of the terrorist MKO grouplet, in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

EU sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Rajavi was invited by two MEPs from the conservative European People's Party (EPP) and "this event had nothing to do with the nuclear talks or with the EU or with Mr Solana as such."

"We understand this strong Iranian irritation but Iranian leaders must distinguish between the official EU position and individual actions," the sources told IRNA.

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