EU, Egypt underline Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy

Iran Materials 6 March 2007 19:23 (UTC +04:00)

( IRNA ) - The European Union and Egypt called Tuesday for a diplomatic solution to resolve Iran's nuclear issue and underlined the Islamic Republic's right to use of nuclear energy for peaceful use.

"It is not an Iranian crisis. It has an issue related to a nuclear issue which has to be tackled. EU and Egypt will be working together with the international community to settle the issue," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit told a news conference in Brussels.

He stressed Iran's right to use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and repeated calls for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

Abul Gheit said there is one country in the region which has not signed the NPT and is suspected to have nuclear weapons, adding that " Israel should join the NPT."

On his part, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the same news conference that "we have to find a solution" to Iran's nuclear issue.

He said nobody disputes Iran's right to use of nuclear energy for peaceful use, but added that "we insist on the importance of restoration of trust" by Iran.

"I hope a diplomatic solution can be found," said the German foreign minister.

Meanwhile, at its meeting Tuesday in Brussels, the 3rd EU-Egypt Association Council has adopted the EU-Egypt Action Plan which will set the agenda for the EU-Egypt cooperation for the next 3-5 years.

The Association Council has established eight sub-committees and one working group, under the EU-Egypt Association Agreement, to follow up the implementation of the Action Plan and to take stock of the progress made.

The Action Plan sets out the priorities for cooperation in a wide range of sectors in the economic, social and political areas jointly agreed between the EU and Egypt.

The EU will support implementation of the Action Plan with a substantial 558 million euro assistance package.

" Egypt is an important strategic partner for the EU," noted Steinmeier, while EU Commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the Action Plan will deepen EU-Egyptian relations.