September 23, 2019 / 4:46 PM / 22 days ago

Macron to meet Trump, Rouhani to push mediation efforts

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron said he would meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday and U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday as he seeks to defuse tensions between Washington and Tehran.

“France is trying to put together proposals to avoid an escalation,” Macron told reporters at the United Nations General Assembly.

He reiterated that any framework for future new negotiations needed to focus on keeping a system in place to monitor Iran’s current nuclear programme, discuss Iran’s post-2025 nuclear activities and ballistic missile programme and its regional influence.

“We need with our allies, regional actors and Iran to sit round the table and advance on these four points,” Macron said.

An attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14, which the United States and Saudi Arabia blamed on Iran, was a turning point, the French president told reporters. Iran-aligned Houthi rebels claimed the attack. Iran has denied carrying it out.

“There are indications that it was a state attack and there was a level of equipment that suggests it wasn’t the Houthi rebels,” Macron said.

He said his meetings with Trump and Rouhani was aimed at pursuing recent French efforts to bring all sides to the table for a new negotiation.

“The strikes ... are a turning point and the desire of France to mediate and its proposals remain relevant to de-escalate,” he said, adding that he would do everything to try to create conditions for discussions between the United States and Iran.

Reporting by John Irish; editing by Grant McCool

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