June 22, 2006

US wants Iran’s response before mid-July summit

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The United States would like to hear
Iran's response to a U.S.-backed offer of incentives in advance
of a mid-July summit of major world powers in Russia, the White
House said on Thursday.

A day after Iran gave August 22 as the date when it would
respond to an offer to try to contain its nuclear program, the
White House national security adviser noted to reporters there
was a meeting next week of Group of Eight foreign ministers and
then the summit of leaders in mid-July in St Petersburg.

"It would be helpful and useful if we could get a response
and know where the Iranians are before those meetings. It would
advance the negotiating process," Stephen Hadley told reporters
covering U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to Hungary.

Hadley said Iran was sending a confusing message with many
voices speaking publicly and privately and Washington would
like the formal Iranian response to come from Iran's chief
nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani to European negotiator Javier

The European package of incentives had been presented to
Larijani from Solana in early June.

"It ought to come through the same channel through which
the offer was made," Hadley said.

He added: "We don't see why it takes a long time to respond
to what is a very constructive proposal. So obviously we think,
weeks not months, we're into weeks, we ought to get a response