Iranian and EU negotiators completed their first two rounds of talks on Wednesday on Iran's nuclear program. The consensus was that the talks had been encouraging and that they would continue on Thursday and in two weeks.
Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani described the discussions as pleasant, with EU counterpart Javier Solana terming them "very constructive".
The mood seemed to be buoyant since after their first meeting at Ankara's Swissotel, the two continued their dialogue at an impromptu dinner party, a positive sign of the determination to resolve any disputes.
Prior to the meetings, Solana had addressed the press, speaking of his constructive mindset and hope that real progress would be made in moving towards meaningful negotiations.
Meanwhile, upon his arrival in Ankara, Larijani stated he stood ready to discuss "fresh ideas" with Solana.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threw his hat into the ring, with local media reporting he met with Larijani to encourage Iran to halt its uranium enrichment and return to negotiations.
Turkey's pivotal role between the EU and the Middle-East will be highlighted on Thursday morning when Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, widely tipped to be the next president of Turkey, meets with both Larijani and Solana.
The EU has stepped into the fray with the US and Iran at each other's throats over Tehran's nuclear program, an initiative the US fears could lead to nuclear weapons being developed in Iran. Iran has wholly ignored these concerns and has ramped up uranium enrichment to an industrial level.
(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2007)