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Take, for example, Iran – a partner with whom there is truly no lack of differences. Nevertheless, we knew that we had to sit round the negotiating table in order to try and resolve the potentially disastrous issue of Iran’s nuclear programme. That’s why we’ve been tenaciously negotiating for the last ten years and have reached a point where it now seems conceivable that the negotiations can be concluded by the deadline in two weeks’ time.
Both sides have declared their readiness to enter into compromises, some of them painful. It will require strong leadership to sell these compromises both at home and to the rest of the world. Germany is prepared to work to ensure that any agreement is broadly accepted.
This is a make or break moment which all parties should take seriously for that reason alone. For it won’t come again any time soon!
Incidentally, the negotiations with Iran are one example where Europe has largely taken over the initiative from individual member states and has led the process with their assistance. Your predecessor Cathy Ashton put a joint European stamp on the negotiations with Iran, although they have formally remained a 3+3 process.
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