Bush chides US partners on Iran
(AFP) - US President George W. Bush said that he was trying to get some US partners in diplomacy towards Iran and North Korea to see past their "economic interests" and take a harder line.
He did not name names, but he had been asked about opposition from Russia and China to imposing sanctions on Iran, which faces a US-backed deadline next week for accepting a proposal on its nuclear programs.
"Some nations are more comfortable with sanctions than other nations. And part of the issue we face in some of these countries is that they've got economic interests," Bush said at a press conference here.
"And part of our objective is to make sure that national security interests, security-of-the-world interests, trump economic interests. And sometimes that takes a while to get people focused in the right direction," he said.
"The first step of a diplomatic solution is for there to be a common goal agreed upon by those of us participating in the process," said the US president. "I'm realistic about how things move in the world."
"It takes a while for a problem to fester and grow, and then it takes a while to solve them diplomatically," he said. "That's just the nature of diplomacy. I wish we could solve them overnight, but I'm a realistic person."
Bush said he expected both Iran and North Korea to be hot topics at the July 15-17 Group of Eight summit of major industrialized democracies plus Russia in Saint Petersburg.
"The G-8 will be an opportunity for those of us involved with this issue to make it clear to the Iranians that we're firm in our resolve for them not to have a nuclear weapon," said the US president.
"I talked to (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin about North Korea; I also talked to him about Iran. I believe he understands the dangers of the Iranians having a nuclear weapon," said Bush.