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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Ministers Hold Expansive Talks

LUXEMBOURG -- EU nations Monday were considering more sanctions or other measures against Iran over its nuclear enrichment program during a meeting that also included talks on Serbian war crimes suspects, European integration and the spelling of the word "euro."

The meeting of European Union foreign ministers was to warn Tehran that time is running out and that it had to cooperate with United Nations resolutions calling for it to suspend enrichment.

Diplomats said EU governments were to warn Iran of "further appropriate measures" if it failed to cooperate, notably new economic and political sanctions that could include investment bans or scrapping export credit guarantees. The approach is being championed by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who called on his EU counterparts last week to study fresh sanctions.

Also at the meeting, chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said Serbia was still unwilling to hunt down and hand over four war crimes suspects. Serbia's full cooperation with the tribunal is required before the EU will sign an aid-and-trade pact with the Balkan nation. "Cooperation is still too slow," Del Ponte told the EU ministers at their talks.

"The fact that Ratko Mladic is still at large after all the promises and declarations that have been made over the years clearly demonstrates that fact," Del Ponte said.

The talks also included negotiations on endorsing a less ambitious version of the defunct European Constitution.

"Our confidence is now greater than before" that the 27 leaders would approve a Reform Treaty at a two-day summit in Lisbon, said Manuel Lobos Antunes, the European affairs minister of Portugal, which now holds the EU's rotating presidency.

He said EU foreign ministers had discussed last-minute hurdles in "an extremely favorable atmosphere."

But also hanging over the summit was a curious tug-of-war between Bulgaria and the EU over the spelling of the word "euro" in the Cyrillic alphabet. Bulgarian officials complain that the EU's spelling of "euro" -- the European single currency -- in Cyrillic script is inconsistent with similar euro-words in Bulgarian -- such as Europe and European Union. The EU makes it "Eypo," pronounced "Ah-YOO-Roh" in Bulgarian. Bulgaria insists it must be "Ebpo," pronounced "EV-roh."

n EU foreign ministers Monday planned to conditionally lift a travel ban on some Uzbek officials but retain an arms embargo on the country.