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Bush and Merkel Discuss Iran, Climate in Talks in Texas

  • VOA News

President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed on the need for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear standoff.

After their meeting on Saturday at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, Ms. Merkel said more sanctions against Iran should be considered if International Atomic Energy Agency reports on that country remain unsatisfactory.

The US is strongly pushing for a new round of sanctions against the Islamic republic, which has defied demands by the UN Security Council to suspend sensitive nuclear work.

Although the two leaders were mostly in agreement on other issues, Ms. Merkel said there were some differences in the area of climate change. She said she believes an upcoming conference in Bali on the issue could be successful.

Mr. Bush said he cares deeply about climate change, and he expressed an interest in developing technology that will deal with the issue without hurting the economy.

Ms. Merkel said she and President Bush also spoke about Afghanistan, following the German chancellor's recent trip to that country.

She also pledged Germany's support for upcoming Middle East peace talks scheduled to take place in (the eastern state of) Maryland.

The two also discussed Kosovo, Lebanon and stalled World Trade Organization talks.

The president and first lady Laura Bush welcomed Ms. Merkel and her husband, Joachim Sauer, to their ranch on Friday.

The German leader's visit follows an official trip to Washington earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The visits indicate warming relations between the United States and the European neighbors. US ties with both France and Germany were strained over the US decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003.
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