Diplomatic Correspondent

Security Council should help resolve issue rather than punish Iran: Lavrov

  • Coercion not the answer: Pranab
  • Iran must fulfil NPT obligations

    NEW DELHI: India and Russia on Friday agreed that the Iranian nuclear issue, now before the United Nations Security Council, should be resolved through negotiations.

    During a joint press interaction with the visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov here, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Iran had the right to pursue its nuclear programme for peaceful, civilian use. As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Tehran must fulfil its obligations and ensure that its nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes.

    "Coercion or application of force is not the answer to resolve issues," Mr. Mukherjee said, without referring to the threats hurled time and again by the United States at Iran. Mr. Lavrov said the Security Council's job must be to help and not replace the International Atomic Energy Agency when it came to dealing with Iran. The Council should help in resolving the issue rather than "punishing" Iran.

    "Important partner"

    Earlier, in his prepared remarks, Mr. Mukherjee said: "We view the Russian Federation as an important partner in our quest for sustainable sources of energy, and are prepared to work with Russia to enhance our current level of cooperation, particularly in the field of nuclear energy."We envision a substantial increase in the share of nuclear energy in India's overall energy mix to meet the demands of our economic growth. Cooperation in this field would, we feel, further strengthen the strategic nature of our relationship."

    He pointed out that the two countries had concluded a bilateral protocol for Russia's entry into the World Trade Organisation. "A joint study group is working to identify measures required to enhance trade between our two countries. We look forward to the report of the study group."

    Putin visit

    Mr. Lavrov, who arrived here from Islamabad, said he had come in advance of the visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to India in January (He will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations).

    According to him, 2007 would be celebrated as the year of Russia in India and India in Russia. India, China and Russia, after a summit of their leaders in July, agreed to continue with meetings of the three Foreign Ministers. India would host this trilateral meeting.