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Bush, Merkel Urge Diplomacy in Resolving Iranian Nuclear Standoff


President George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed on the need for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear standoff.

After their meeting Saturday at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, President Bush said it is more likely diplomacy will work if the United States, Germany, and other nations work together. He said they must convey to Iran that the world does not want Tehran to have the capacity to make nuclear weapons.

The U.S. is strongly pushing for a new round of sanctions against the Islamic republic, which has defied demands by the U.N. Security Council to suspend sensitive nuclear work.

Ms. Merkel said more sanctions against Iran should be considered, if International Atomic Energy Agency reports on that country remain unsatisfactory. She also said Germany must reduce its commercial ties with Iran.

In other developments, Ms. Merkel expressed support for an upcoming U.S.-sponsored conference on the Middle East, saying Germany will do all it can to help make the conference a success.

Although the two leaders were mostly in agreement on other issues, Ms. Merkel said there were some differences in the area of climate change. She said she believes an upcoming conference in Bali could be successful in establishing new international policy on the issue.

Mr. Bush said he cares deeply about climate change. He expressed interest in developing technology that will deal with the issue without hurting the economy.

Mr. Bush maintained his support for the Pakistani government, which imposed a state of emergency over political demostrations. He said both President Pervez Musharraf and recently-returned opposition leader Benazir Bhutto understand how dangerous Al-Qaida is.

The president and first lady Laura Bush welcomed Ms. Merkel and her husband, Joachim Sauer, to their ranch on Friday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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