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World Digest: China to join talks on Iran sanctions at U.N.

An anti-government demonstrator climbs the front gate and storms into Thailand's parliament during a rally in Bangkok.
An anti-government demonstrator climbs the front gate and storms into Thailand's parliament during a rally in Bangkok. (Wason Wanichakorn/associated Press)

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

IRAN

China to join talks on Iran sanctions at U.N.

The United States, China and other key world powers will meet at the United Nations on Thursday for their first high-level talks on a Western-backed proposal to impose sanctions on Iran, according to U.N. Security Council diplomats.

The move came as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly denounced President Obama as an "amateur" who resorts to threats of force because he lacks a legal basis for compelling Iran to rein in what it says is its peaceful nuclear program.

The agreement to hold the talks followed months of resistance by China to the idea of a fourth round of U.N. sanctions. Discussions will begin just two days after the Obama administration released its new nuclear policy, under which the United States could launch a nuclear strike against countries such as Iran and North Korea that are in violation of nuclear nonproliferation obligations.

In response to the release, Ahmadinejad lashed out at Obama on Wednesday as "inexperienced and an amateur politician," the Reuters news service reported. "American politicians are like cowboys," he said. "When they have legal shortcomings, their hands go to their guns."

In New York, diplomats played down hopes of a breakthrough from the talks among the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany. "This is just the beginning of negotiations," one said. "We don't expect to come out of the meeting with a communique."

-- Colum Lynch

THAILAND

State of emergency declared in Bangkok

Thailand declared a state of emergency in the capital Wednesday after protesters stormed parliament, forcing government officials to flee by helicopter in the latest episode in a four-week-old attempt to force elections.

The red-shirted supporters of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra retreated from parliament, but tens of thousands have remained in Bangkok's main shopping district since Saturday, defying Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's orders to leave.


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