G8 Summit Press Conference Given by French President Nicolas Sarkozy (Excerpts)

July 8, 2009

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THE PRESIDENT - (. . .) Iran was discussed at dinner and is the subject of a declaration showing the G8's unity vis-a -vis the situation in Iran. (. . .)

There was wide agreement, and this includes Russia, for giving the negotiation a chance but setting a deadline, Pittsburgh, where we'll take stock of the progress or lack of progress. And at that moment, quite obviously, if there's no progress, we'll have to take decisions together. That was what we discussed.

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Q. - Do you intend tomorrow setting a date for closing the WTO negotiations? And on the sanctions against Iran, I don't really get it: the decision is postponed sine die at least until Pittsburgh. And how are you coordinating the discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue and the crackdown?

THE PRESIDENT - It's a bit odd to say that's it's postponed sine die and immediately set a date, Pittsburgh, which is in the middle of September. (. . .) It's either Pittsburgh or sine die. We had to get everyone to agree and particularly the Russian President, Mr Medvedev. It so happens that it was I who talked about the Iranian issue this evening at dinner and we talked about it very frankly. We had to find a compromise. The Russian President was very frank on the condemnation of the violence and on the risk that developments in the situation could present vis-a -vis the nuclear issue - but that's for him to talk about, it isn't for me to be his spokesman. And if you read the details of the declaration when you have it, you will see that the condemnation is unambiguous.

At the same time, President Obama made a gesture. (. . .) In August the Iranian President will be sworn in, if my memory is right, and he will appoint a government. Between August and September, it's for them to choose what happens. We have made an effort to agree not to strengthen the sanctions immediately in order to get everyone on board, and those who were more reticent on the sanctions pledged to say: "OK, Pittsburgh is when the decision will be made". That's not so bad.

So did we link the democracy and nuclear issues? The nuclear issue is extraordinarily worrying. There's an Iranian regime claiming not to be seeking nuclear weapons which has for six years been rejecting all gestures and particularly the IAEA inspections. It would be so simple if they don't want the atomic bomb to open up to the inspections! There's a phenomenal contradiction.

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Q. - If I've understood things properly, you have proposed strengthening the sanctions against Iran. That was your initial proposal. Strengthening in what way, what type of sanctions did you propose this evening?

THE PRESIDENT - Listen, we know we have a date for a decision, we know we have to start talking about it and we have decided to do so secretly. As you can well understand, these are sensitive matters, diplomacy and dialogue have to be given every chance and if they work, so much the better; if they don't, there can't be no consequences. It's now for the Iranian leaders to choose the solution they wish: diplomacy, dialogue, and opening-up? They have to respond now. We can't make the whole world wait like this, it isn't possible.

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