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Turkey takes leading role in nuke talks

July 17, 2008 at 6:36 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, July 17 (UPI) -- Turkey, a relatively new player in the game, has stepped up efforts to help resolve the international standoff over Iran's nuclear program, a top official says.

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met Thursday with U.S. security adviser Stephen Hadley in Ankara, a day before Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, to discuss the nuclear situation, Hurriyet reported.

Babacan said Turkey was making "intensive" efforts to help resolve the international standoff over Iran's nuclear program, paralleling its ongoing mediation of indirect talks between Israel and Syria.

Babacan said Ankara was in close contact with its eastern neighbor Iran and the six powers that have offered Tehran an incentives package to freeze its uranium enrichment program.

The West fears a possible drive for nuclear weapons. Iran contends its nuclear program is only aimed at generating electricity.

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