Sun, Feb 03, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Security talks begin in Munich, with Syria in focus

AFP, MUNICH, Germany

“[US] President [Barack] Obama has made clear that containment is not an option. We will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily quoted Biden as saying.

“We think there is time and space for diplomacy — accompanied with economic pressure. But this window will not be open for an unlimited time,” he said in remarks published in German.

Iran and the six world powers held three rounds of talks last year aimed at easing the standoff over Iran’s nuclear activities, which Tehran insists are entirely peaceful, but the last round ended in stalemate in June in Moscow.

Another round of talks was initially expected to be held in December last year or last month, but a date and a location have still not been set amid indications that neither side is prepared to substantially change its position.

NATO’s plan to withdraw the bulk of its 100,000 combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year, as well as developments in the Muslim and Arab world two years after the Arab Spring revolts, are also set to be themes at the talks.

Mali is also expected to focus minds.

Opening the conference Friday, German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere said it was “right and imperative” for France to intervene but military intervention was only the start of a long road towards conflict resolution.

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