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Li, Rice Teleconference on Iran Nuclear Issue
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China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed the Iran nuclear issue in a telephone conversation on Wednesday night, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"The main topic of discussion was how to properly handle the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic means," the statement read without giving further details.

Senior representatives from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany will meet in Vienna on Thursday to discuss the issue, the ministry had said earlier.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said on Tuesday that Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo would attend the meeting, which is expected to focus on a decision to offer Iran a package of incentives in return for the suspension of its nuclear activities.

The six nations achieved some progress in forming a common position at a meeting in London last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, France, Germany and Britain, or the EU-3, have been trying to work out a package of both incentives and possible penalties to persuade Iran to suspend its nuclear programs.

China has supported a peaceful resolution of the issue through diplomatic means and negotiations, and has repeatedly urged the parties concerned to take a constructive attitude to create favorable conditions for the resumption of negotiations.

Liu said that Iran had the right to the peaceful use of nuclear power as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it should also fulfill its corresponding responsibilities and commitments.

"Iran urgently needs to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and regain the confidence of the international community in its nuclear program," Liu said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 1, 2006)

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