Premier Wen Jiabao and his German counterpart Chancellor Angela Merkel held a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon and they conferred on solving the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiations, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The two sides exchanged views on further developing Sino-German relations and settling the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations and with peaceful means, the ministry said.
A statement of the German government said the two leaders discussed Iran's nuclear program "at length," and underscored their common goal to find a solution to the nuclear problem with diplomatic means.
The international community is stepping up efforts to persuade Iran back to negotiations and suspend its nuclear activities.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana arrived in Tehran late Monday with a new package agreed by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany last Thursday.
He met with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on Tuesday and presented him the new six-nation proposal over the disputed nuclear issue.
Larijani was quoted as saying that his two-hour meeting with Solana was good. The Iranian side will study these proposals and then give a formal response.
He said the new proposal over the country's disputed nuclear issue contains "positive steps" and "ambiguities."
"We welcome the European will to resolve the issue through dialogues and the two sides should have more negotiations again after our careful study over the proposal," the top nuclear negotiator was quoted as saying.
The new six-nation package contains economic and political incentives, including talks with the United States, to encourage Tehran to abandon uranium enrichment, and also the implicit threat of UN sanctions if Iran doesn't comply.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also reasserted on the weekend during a telephone conversation with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan that Iran was ready to hold talks on the nuclear program, adding that Iran preferred the negotiations to be held democratically without any precondition or any threat.
During a phone conversation last Thursday, Chinese President Hu Jintao told US President George W. Bush that he welcomed the US stance on resolving the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic means and its willingness to join negotiations on the issue.
"China is ready to maintain contact and coordination with the US and play a constructive role in resuming negotiations at an early date," Hu was quoted by a Foreign Ministry statement as saying.
Bush told Hu that his country was determined to resolve the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic means. As long as Iran agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment activities in verifiable ways, the US would join relevant negotiations.
(Xinhua News Agency June 7, 2006)