LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday she will continue leading nuclear negotiations with Iran until a deal is reached but is determined to meet a November deadline for an accord.
Her five-year term as EU foreign policy chief ends on Oct, 31, and she had said she would stay on as nuclear negotiator until Nov. 24, the deadline for reaching a long-term settlement with Iran over its nuclear programme.
Asked if she would continue beyond that date if necessary, she told reporters at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg: “I have been asked to carry on until it’s done.”
Ashton, a Briton, negotiates with the Iranian delegation on behalf of the six powers involved in the talks: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
However, Ashton’s office stressed there was no suggestion of extending the high-stakes negotiations at this stage. “The deadline is Nov 24. Catherine Ashton is fully focused on getting a good deal by the deadline. We are not thinking about an extension,” said Ashton’s spokesman, Michael Mann.
Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Mark Heinrich