Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini Response to Questions from the Opposition Party MPs Regarding EU Negotiations with Iran

January 28, 2004

In reference to the question on an initiative undertaken by three European countries to ensure Iran's full acceptance of the protocol on nuclear energy, put by some opposition MPs during the Foreign Affairs Commission meeting - which Minister Frattini was unable to answer for reasons of time - Minister Frattini, who made public a statement on the matter last October, has underlined that:

"The Italian Presidency of the European Union was priorly informed of the three countries' intention and initiative and encouraged their efforts in that direction. It also sent a letter, whose text was made public, to the three European colleagues just before their journey.

The three colleagues informed me by phone the day of the protocol was signed in Teheran. Afterwards, along with the three ministers, I invited the Secretary of the Iranian Security Council Rohani and High Representative Solano, who had not taken part in the initiative, for talks in Brussels.

I later described the meeting's outcome and the initiative's results to the EU Foreign Ministers' meeting for their assessment. Many ministers explicitly thanked the Italian Presidency for sharing the results of this initiative with all the Foreign Ministers of the European Union.

Italy was therefore informed and helped define the details of the initiative. Above all, it brought the initiative back into the collective setting of the 25 EU countries, meaning that it can now be defined as a 'European' initiative towards Iran."