US foreign minister lauds host country Switzerland

US Foreign Minister John Kerry (right) has had several opportunities to sample the hospitality of Switzerland and to interact with his counterpart, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter (left). Keystone

US Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the Swiss government, cities and people for their “tremendous efforts” over the past week in hosting ongoing negotiations with the Iranian delegation over a deal to curb Tehran's nuclear programme.

This content was published on March 21, 2015 - 17:19 and agencies

The negotiations centre on Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons and the stringent sanctions which the United Nations has imposed on the capital city of Tehran.

Although no deal was reached this week, Kerry extended his gratitude for the hospitality he received. “I want in particular to thank the Swiss government,” said Kerry on Saturday in Lausanne. “Switzerland is known for its deep commitment to solving complex global problems. And it always helps out.”

Kerry also singled out Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter for “welcoming me personally and generously every time I come here” and the Swiss people for their hospitality.

In addition, “I am very grateful for the tremendous efforts of the cities of Geneva, Montreux and Lausanne,” said Kerry. “All have become a special part of these negotiations.”

Kerry said on Saturday that discussions have not ended but that there had been “substantial progress”. It is “time to make hard decisions”, he said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted by the state news agency IRNA as saying there was "nothing that cannot be resolved" between the parties.

The talks are set to resume on Thursday. In the meantime Kerry is headed for London  to meet his European counterparts from France, Germany and Britain. Iran and six world powers – the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China – are working to reach an agreement by the end of the month, with a final deal at the end of June.


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