July 18, 2008

Rice: Talks Could Bring Iran Breakthrough

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday she hopes prospects of better relations with the United States will convince Iran to drop its nuclear ambitions.

Undersecretary of State William Burns is to meet Saturday in Geneva with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator. The Bush administration in the past has said there would be no direct talks with Iran until it stopped nuclear enrichment.

At a news conference in Washington with officials from Kosovo, Rice said that any country can change course, Voice of America reported.

The United States doesn't have any permanent enemies, and we hope that the signal that we're sending that we fully support the track that Iran could take for a better relationship with the international community is one that the United States stands fully behind, Rice said. We will see what happens on Saturday but that is the message that Bill Burns will be delivering.

The meeting also includes Javier Solana, the European Union diplomatic representative, and representatives from the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.