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France asks India to “convince” Iran
February 15, 2013, 12:19 pm

[Getty Images]

President Hollande is currently on a state visit to India. [Getty Images]

French President Francois Hollande has asked India to “convince”  their allies Iran to enter into serious negotiations and respect international obligations with regard to nuclear non-proliferation.

Mr Hollande was delivering a public lecture in New Delhi during his state visit to India.

France is a key player in the P5+1 talks with Iran on its contentious nuclear programme.

The French president also extended a reconciliation offering to Iran saying the people of France also consider them as “friends” and urged the oil-rich nation to fulfil its obligations.

Calling India a “power of peace”, Mr Hollande strongly pitched for the country getting full membership at the United Nations Security Council while observing that the security of the world needs India’s presence.

The French president asked India to use its friendship and influence with Iran to bring it to a negotiating table on its controversial nuclear programme.

“We know India and its people are close to Iran and North Korea. It is all the more important that India convinces this great country of Iran to enter into a serious negotiations to respect international obligations and nuclear non-proliferation,” he told the audience.

Relations between Iran and the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions have been wrought with tensions.

Simon Jenkins writing in the Guardian on Wednesday said, “If ever there was a country unlikely to respond to diplomatic bullying, it is Iran. If ever there was a country that might respond to constructive engagement, to commercial, governmental and cultural intercourse, it is also Iran.”

Observing that India is concerned about the future of Afghanistan after 2014 when NATO forces would leave, Mr Hollande said Afghans themselves should decide about their future and in this context asked Pakistan to fulfil its commitment to accomplish the objective.

Praising India’s role in international discussions, Mr Hollande said New Delhi’s policy of resolving disputes through peaceful means and not responding to “provocative actions” should be congratulated.

“Today we ask for India to be a full-fledged member of the United Nations Security Council to reflect the current realities. We ask because 17 per cent of humanity is here.

“We ask because the security of the world needs India’s presence and we ask because India is a power of peace,” said the president.

Thanking India for its “understanding and support” in France’s fight against terrorism in Mali, the French president said the two countries will continue to cooperate in eradicating terrorism that has its roots in poverty.

“India and France began their strategic partnership in 1998 but I would like to call it an exceptional partnership” said Mr Hollande.

Source: Agencies

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