France urges Iran, Syria to work with the world

Iran Materials 28 August 2006 16:19 (UTC +04:00)

(Reuters) - Iran and Syria should not isolate themselves from the international community but instead work towards building a lasting peace in the Middle East, French President Jacques Chirac said on Monday. In a speech to French ambassadors, Chirac called Iran "a great country" and urged it to negotiate with world powers over its nuclear ambitions.

"Iran will not find security in the development of hidden (nuclear) programmes, but in its full immersion into the heart of the international community," Chirac said, reports Trend.

"Once again, I urge Tehran to send the necessary signals to create the conditions for trust. There is always room for dialogue," he added.

Turning to Syria, Chirac said it should: "abandon its insular mentality".

The French president used to have a good rapport with Syria's leaders, but those ties suffered following the assassination last year in Beirut of one of Chirac's close friends, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

The killing was blamed on pro-Syrian agents.

"(Syria) has the calling to retake its place at the table of nations, respecting the international legality and sovereignty of its neighbours. The Middle East needs Syria to be working actively for peace and stability in the region," he said.

Chirac said Iran too had a duty to work for regional peace.

"Iran is a great country. But the recognition of this role also gives it an obligation, that of easing fears and working for regional stability, as befits a great and responsible country," he said.