Turkey PM eyes Iran visit ahead of possible nuclear talks

AFP, Friday 2 Mar 2012

Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan will expectedly visit Iran this month to discuss the Islamic state's nuclear programme which Ankara had incessantly favoured a diplomatic solution to the controversial issue

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience during the presentation of the new symbol of the Turkish Lira in Ankara March 1, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit Iran this month, an aide said Friday, after Ankara raised the possibility of a resumption of nuclear talks between Tehran and world powers.

Erdogan is likely to visit Iran on March 28, after attending an international nuclear security summit in South Korea on March 26 and 27, the aide told AFP, without giving further details.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said this week that the moribund talks between Iran and world powers on Tehran's controversial nuclear drive might resume in April at the latest.

"I have the belief that the negotiations... might take place in a month's time, in April at the latest," he said in an interview published Tuesday, also expressing Turkey's readiness to host the talks.

The last round of negotiatons between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group -- UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- collapsed in Istanbul in January 2011.

The United Nations and the West have imposed a raft of sanctions on Iran in an unsuccessful effort to force it to halt its atomic activities, which the West suspects could be a cover for efforts to build a nuclear bomb.

Turkey has repeatedly said it is only bound by UN Security Council sanctions against Tehran and favours a diplomatic solution to the dispute.

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