Germany, Israel press for UN sanctions against Iran
BERLIN, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that the international community should take all diplomatic options, including sanctions, to force Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment.
"That is why the time has come not just to think about but to work on sanctions," she told a joint press conference with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert after their meeting.
But Merkel dismissed the use of force against Iran. "For me, a military solution is not no the table," she stressed.
Germany, along with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, has led the efforts to persuade Iran to halt its controversial nuclear program, which Tehran said was only for peaceful purposes.
The United States and Israel have voiced their suspicion that Tehran might be developing a nuclear-weapon program under the guise of a civilian-use program.
Meanwhile, the German chancellor said there will be no peace in the Middle East without Syria's involvement.
"I don't believe that one can achieve a comprehensive peace solution in the Middle East without bringing in Syria in some way," she said, referring her Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to Damascus despite opposition from Israel last week.
"Syria is simply there as a partner in the region," she added.
Syria has been accused by the West of stirring unrest in Lebanon since last year's assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Damascus has denied any involvement in the case, which is under UN investigation.
Olmert, who arrived here Monday night on a two-day visit, is expected to meet German President Horst Koehler before traveling to Italy.