Geneva, Nov 9 (IANS) Talks between six world powers and Iran over its controversial nuclear programme entered a third day Saturday as diplomats tried to seal a breakthrough on a decade-old standoff.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Geneva Saturday morning to join the talks after representatives of the US, Britain, Germany and France made unscheduled trips to Geneva Friday, Xinhua reported.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong is also expected to arrive in Geneva for the talks.
Their presence gave rise to hopes that a deal may be possible.
The hoped-for agreement could see Iran freeze parts of its nuclear programme for as long as six months.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for about five hours Friday. They had "good discussions," according to Michael Mann, Ashton's spokesman.
Ashton continued her intense contacts and consultations Saturday morning, he said.
However, as the diplomats pushed to seal a breakthrough on the decade-old standoff, Kerry said upon his arrival that there were still some important unresolved issues.
"I want to emphasise there are still some very important issues on the table that are unresolved," he said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague Saturday told reporters that "good progress" had been made but it was not clear whether a deal could be reached by the end of the day.
Hague's statement was echoed by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who said later that they hoped they could have an agreement because the Iranian nuclear issue is a very important issue for regional and international security, but the work continued, and at this point there were still important issues to be addressed.
Delegates of the six world powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US - started a new round of talks with Iran Thursday, expecting to seek a "first step" deal.
In the previous round of talks held Oct 15-16, Iran proposed a plan as a basis for negotiation but details of the proposal were not disclosed.
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