Jul 12, 2014, 1:55 AM
News Code: 81233619
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Vienna 6: 10th day of experts' meeting ends

Vienna, July 12, IRNA – The last 10th day meeting among Iranian and sextet deputy foreign ministers and experts aimed at drafting the text of a final comprehensive nuclear agreement that had started at 15:30 local time, Friday in Cobourg Hotel ended a short while ago.

In two simultaneous meeting, Iran's Seyyed Abbas Araqchi and EU's Helga Schmitt discussed the political and Iran's Hamid Ba'eidinezhad and Sextet's Stephen Clement contemplated on the technical aspects of the agreement.

Iran's negotiations with the six world powers (the five UN Security Council veto wielding power countries and Germany) are aimed at achieving a comprehensive agreement before the July 20 deadline, when the Geneva Joint Plan of Action's validity ends.

The ministers of foreign affairs of the United States and three European countries, namely Germany, France and Britain are going to join the Geneva 6 negotiations on Saturday and Sunday, while their counterparts from Russia and China have decided not to join them on pretext of attending a conference in Latin America.

The general atmosphere of the negotiations reveals the fact that although the parentheses (points of difference) in the text of the comprehensive agreement's text have been decreased down to 50% (as the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said – but opposite to his French counterpart's opinion that they have all remained intact), but major differences over some key points still remain unresolved.

It is predicted here that the addition of the four foreign ministers to the Vienna 6 negotiations, although for a short while, is aimed at contributing to the faster progress of the talks and completion of the comprehensive agreement's text.

Therefore, during the course of the next few days it is expected that the atmosphere of the negotiations with turn into a more positive air in which the viewpoints of the two sides will get closer to each other.

The Vienna 6 nuclear negotiations began on Wednesday, July 2, and both sides stepped in them determined to use the entire remaining period till July 20 to turn the Geneva temporary deal into a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Therefore, this longest round of talks of its ling will last continuously for a full 18-day period from its beginning till July 20.

Britain and Germany's foreign ministers will join the US Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna this weekend to seek to bridge what Washington called 'significant gaps' in ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, London and Berlin said Friday.

The negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, which last week entered the final straight, are aimed at forging a lasting deal with Iran.

The deadline to get a deal is July 20, when an interim deal struck by foreign ministers in Geneva last November expires, although this can be extended if both sides agree.

Kerry 'will gauge the extent of Iran's willingness to commit to credible and verifiable steps that would back up its public statements about the peaceful nature of its nuclear program,' spokeswoman Marie Harf said in an emailed statement late Thursday.

He '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' and then to 'make recommendations' to President Barack Obama on the next steps.

Kerry will also hold talks in Vienna with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Harf said.

London confirmed Friday that the British Foreign Secretary William Hague's attendance, as did Germany for Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In Paris a diplomatic source told the AFP that the Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius would also be there.

However Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will not be present, with Moscow represented by Vladimir Voronkov, Russia's ambassador to international organizations in the Austrian capital, ITAR-TASS cited Voronkov as saying.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said he had 'no specific information about which Chinese official will go, but we will send an official of some level to the meeting.'

The lead negotiator, EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton, invited Thursday all foreign ministers from the six powers to Vienna to 'take stock of where we are,' her spokesman said.

The negotiations have, as expected, proved tough-going.

France has described them as 'difficult' and said on Tuesday that no major issues had been resolved, although both Russia and Iran said on Thursday that there were 'clear signs of progress.'

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamene'ie, Iran's supreme leader, gave a speech on Tuesday voiced his strong support for the government, including its nuclear negotiation team.

Iran says it wants to enrich uranium to fuel planned nuclear power plants around Iran, but these facilities are years, if not decades, away from being in operation, the West says.

Kelsey Davenport, analyst at the Arms Control Association, told AFP that the attendance of foreign ministers was a 'positive sign' and that their presence could 'spur movement on some of the largest remaining hurdles.'

Their presence would also facilitate discussing extending the deadline, although for now this remains 'premature,' Davenport said, with 'a lot of time left on the clock for diplomacy before July 20.'