European Union leaders, upon their arrival to a summit in the Bulgarian capital on Thursday, underscored the importance of the Iran nuclear deal and urged US President Donald Trump to open a dialogue with Tehran to avoid destabilizing the region.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the EU was willing to uphold the Iran nuclear pact regardless of the path taken by the US and stressed that the deal was important for the region, Efe news reported.
"On Iran, from the start, Europe remains united with a desire to maintain peace and stability in the region," said Macron, adding that the nuclear deal was "an important element in this balance".
EU leaders of the 28 members states discussed Trump's decision to break away from the 2015 deal with Iran, which saw Tehran agreeing to rein in its nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the EU and US had a history and shared values, though it seemed Trump had forgotten this.
He called on the US President not to abandon the practice of multilateral negotiation with regards to issues of common interests, such as Iran or trade politics between regions.
"In several months, Trump and his administration have taken unilateral measures that are against the economic and geopolitical interests of the EU," he said, calling on Trump to move towards opening dialogue with Iran.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, meanwhile, acknowledged that the pact with Iran, following the US decision to unilaterally abandon it, was "damaged".
She said keeping the pact alive was the only way to pressure Iran on its ballistic missiles programme, which had not been part of the 2015 deal, and avoid the destabilisation of the region.