Kerry to travel to Vienna for Iran talks this weekend

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Vienna this weekend to join ongoing world power nuclear talks with Iran. (File photo: Reuters)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Vienna this weekend to join ongoing world power nuclear talks with Iran, the State Department said Thursday.

Kerry “will see if progress can be made on the issues where significant gaps remain and assess Iran’s willingness to make a set of critical choices at the negotiating table,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will also travel to Vienna on Sunday to assess the state of talks between world powers and Iran over curbs on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, a diplomatic source in Paris said.

Fabius and officials in the P5+1 group comprising the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and China will “evaluate the situation” in the talks, which aim to reach a definitive accord with Iran by July 20, according to the source.

The source did not say which other foreign ministers would attend.

Final negotiations to secure a historic accord to guarantee the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against Tehran began on July 3 in Vienna.

The diplomatic marathon could continue until July 20 when a temporary deal struck agreed in November 2013 expires. However, the deadline for this latest round could be extended for six months.

France has described the negotiations as “difficult” and on Tuesday said no major issues had been resolved.

A spokesman for lead negotiator Catherine Ashton said Thursday that foreign ministers from world powers have been invited to Vienna on Sunday.

EU foreign policy chief Ashton “has invited ... foreign ministers who are available to come to Vienna on Sunday to take stock of where we are” in the talks, spokesman Michael Mann tweeted.

On Tuesday Iranian news agency IRNA reported that foreign ministers from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council would arrive in Vienna later this week.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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