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France, Iran to hold direct nuclear talks: Fabius

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius looks on during a conference with Algerian Minister of Industry and Mining in the Algerian capital Algiers on June 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ FAROUK BATICHE

ALGIERS: Direct talks between France and Iran on the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear drive will be held this week, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Monday.

"Bilateral discussions between France and Iran will take place on Wednesday," Fabius said at a news conference in Algiers after Iranian and US delegations began two days of direct negotiations in Geneva.

"After these discussions, there will also be discussions between the Iranians and the Russians. There may be others. Anyway, the three (countries) that I know about are the Americans, the Russians and the French," he added.

"The Americans gave us notice about these talks and we also said we would have talks with the Iranians.

"It was agreed that after these talks we would consult with the six before seeing the Iranians again from June 16," Fabius said, referring to the P5+1 of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany.

Senior Iranian and US officials held what Tehran's top negotiator dubbed "constructive" talks on Monday, as Washington warned tough choices were needed for a lasting accord on Tehran's controversial nuclear programme by a July 20 deadline.

The closed-door meeting in Geneva marks a new effort to find common ground between Tehran and Washington, amid concerns that tensions between the two could damage efforts to strike deal between the Islamic republic and world powers.

 

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