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New British FM Says U.S., U.K. United On Iran And Afghanistan

  • RFE/RL

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Minister William Hague chat in Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Minister William Hague chat in Washington.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that Iran still refuses to discuss its nuclear program with the international community and is unlikely to do so until the United Nations imposes new sanctions on the Islamic republic.


Speaking in Washington after a meeting with Britain's new foreign secretary, William Hague, Clinton said she has told her counterparts in several countries that Iran won’t give the international community a "serious response" on the true purpose of its nuclear program until the UN Security
Council indicates it is willing to impose tough sanctions.


Clinton said the United States and Britain are united in believing that Iran must fulfill its international obligations and prove that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.


"We are working closely with our U.K. and other partners on a new Security Council resolution affirming that there are serious consequences should Iran continue to flout its international obligations and fail to comply with both IAEA decisions and UN Security Council resolutions," Clinton said.

Hague said London and Washington are agreed when it comes to sending a "strong signal" to Tehran that there will be consequences for its defiance.


"We discussed Iran, where we, of course, agreed on the need to send a strong and united signal about Iran's nuclear program, to secure the passage of a UN Security Council resolution, and the United Kingdom will, thereafter, of course, play a key role in ensuring that there is determined action by the European Union to follow up such a resolution," Hague said.


Afghan Commitment

At the joint press appearance on May 14, Clinton also said she had "no concern whatsoever" that Britain's newly formed coalition government will change what has traditionally been known as two countries' "special relationship."

Parliamentary elections in Britain on May 6 failed to produce an outright winner and led to the formation this week of a power sharing agreement between the Conservative Party, which won the most seats, and Liberal Democratic Party, which came in third, behind Labour.


The new government is led by Conservative David Cameron, who has made Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg his deputy prime minister.

Hague and Cameron have said they want more independence from Washington than the past governments have had. Britain has been led by the Labour Party for 13 years.


But today Hague said the U.S. and U.K.'s "unbreakable alliance" will remain intact under the new leadership.


In addition to Iran, the leaders discussed operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Clinton said Hague had reconfirmed the British "government's commitment to working with the international community and the Afghans to achieve long-term stability there."


"The United States and the United Kingdom are also firmly committed to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, and we support the efforts by the Afghan government to fight corruption and build a stable and secure government and country," Clinton said.


Hague said new premier Cameron has made Afghanistan his ‘top priority in foreign affairs’ and that the new government will give the NATO strategy and the agreements made at January's international donors conference in London "the time and support to succeed."


Britain has slightly more than 10,000 troops supporting the NATO mission in Afghanistan. But public support for the war is very low.

In a poll taken this past February, 55 percent of Britons said they believe their government made a mistake in sending military forces to Afghanistan, and 52 percent said they opposed the war there.

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