U.S.: Russia, China slowing sanctions

Associated Press
Published November 3, 2007

LONDON - U.S. officials said Friday that Russia and China were keeping the U.N. Security Council from moving quickly enough toward a third set of sanctions over Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said there was an urgent need to ratchet up pressure over the issue, despite agreement Friday among the five permanent Security Council members, plus Germany, to come up with a new sanctions resolution if November reports by the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency do not show improved Iranian cooperation.

"The U.S. believes very strongly there is a need to accelerate the diplomacy, to strengthen the sanctions," Burns said after a meeting in London of the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. "We want a diplomatic solution, we do not want to give up on diplomacy, but we need the help of the P5 (permanent Security Council members) countries to do that, particularly the support of Russia and China."

A senior Security Council diplomat at U.N. headquarters in New York said the five permanent members had not yet agreed on sanctions to be included in the new resolution. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because discussions are continuing.

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe a closed-door meeting, said the Russian and Chinese delegations had come to the London session "unprepared" to do the work needed to finalize a third sanctions resolution, suggesting that neither Moscow nor Beijing had signed off on even the basic elements that they could accept in a draft text.