Condoleezza Rice confident Russia and China will agree with United States and European Union on pressuing Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed confidence Wednesday that Russia and China would eventually agree with the U.S. and European allies on how to pressure Iran to stop enriching uranium.

"Sometimes diplomacy takes a little bit of time, but we're working very hard on that," Rice said.

The top U.S. diplomat said she is not worried about a delay in efforts at the United Nations to write a statement from the president of the U.N. Security Council addressing Iran 's disputed nuclear program. Russia and China 's opposition to a tough statement stalled talks with high-level diplomats this week at the United Nations.

The intention all along, Rice said, was to come up with a vehicle to allow the international community "to speak strongly to Iran that it has no other course but to return to negotiations, suspend its programs and agree to a civil nuclear arrangement" that would alleviate possible risks of weaponization.

"We will come up with a vehicle, I am quite certain of that," Rice said. "We have work still to do. This is the natural course of diplomacy. If it takes a little longer, I'm not really concerned about that."

The United States , Britain and France have failed to get Russia and China to agree that the U.N. Security Council should approve a statement reiterating demands by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran suspends uranium enrichment.

The process can be used to generate nuclear power or make nuclear weapons. The U.S. and its European allies contend Iran seeks the ability to make bombs. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, intended only for civilian energy production.

Russia and China strongly oppose language backed by the U.S. and Europeans that would call for a report in 14 days on Iran 's compliance with the IAEA's demands. Russia and China want Iran to have more time and want the IAEA to keep the lead in pressuring Iran .

Rice spoke while in the Bahamas to meet with 14 foreign ministers and the secretary-general of the Caribbean Community and Common Market, a regional trade bloc known as Caricom, reports the AP.


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