GENEVA  - Iranian, European and US officials began talks Saturday in Geneva's historic Town Hall in a bid to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme. The EU's diplomatic chief Javier Solana posed for the cameras with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili before beginning talks along with US State Department official William Burns - the first time that Washington has directly taken part in the discussions on the nuclear issue. Diplomats from the five UN Security Council permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany also attended the talks. None of the three made any comments to the press before starting the talks. A member of the Iranian delegation told reporters that "everybody hopes there will be fruitful results to the negotiations". Media reports said world powers had offered to start pre-negotiations over a six-week period during which Tehran would add no more uranium-enriching centrifuges and in return no further sanctions would be imposed - the so-called "freeze-freeze" approach. But Kevyan Imani of the Iranian delegation said the focus would rather be "the common points of both packages," referring to the Western package of political, economic and civil nuclear incentives should Iran renounce uranium enrichment, and Iran's own proposals which are nebulously aimed at "solving the world problems." "It's not about freeze-freeze," he said. On the European side, Solana's spokeswoman Christina Gallach said that "the basis for successful negotiations is very substantial". She said the diplomats would hold two hours of talks before breaking for lunch. The attendance of Burns, the number three official at the State Department, marks a major policy shift by Washington, which has not had any diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980 following the Islamic Revolution. "It's up to him to choose his attitude," Gallach said, but added that his presence was a "strong signal of the US support for a negotiated solution". In London, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband hailed Burns's attendance as a strong signal of the West's determination to arrive at a negotiated solution. Meanwhile in Washington US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed that the US had shifted position on diplomacy with Iran by sending a senior envoy to Geneva to participate in nuclear talks with Iran's top negotiator. But she insisted that Tehran must suspend its enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear materials for substantive talks with Washington. "The United States doesn't have any permanent enemies," Rice said in response to a reporter's question on the unexpected move to send a diplomat to meet directly with Iran's negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva on Saturday. "And we hope this signal we're sending, that we fully support the track that Iran could take for a better relationship with the international community, is one the United States stands fully behind." "We have been very clear that any country can change course," Rice added. "This decision to send Undersecretary (William) Burns is an affirmation of the policy that we have been pursuing with our European allies for some time now." After talks in Geneva the European Union's diplomatic chief Javier Solana said attempts to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear programme had made 'insufficient' progress. "There is always progress in these talks, but insufficient," said Solana. The international community was still waiting for Iran's response to a proposed package of incentives for Tehran to give up its nuclear programme, he added. "It was a constructive meeting, but still we didn't get the answer to our questions," said Solana. The international community had proposed that "we refrain from Security Council resolutions and (call) for Iran to refrain from nuclear activity including the installations of new centrifuges" for processing uranium, he said after the talks. "We are looking forward to an answer from Iran in this question... in a couple of weeks." Solana said that no fixed date had been set for this meeting, which could be held over the telephone and might only feature deputy officials rather than another high-level encounter. Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili described the talks as "constructive and progressing," in comments to reporters afterwards. He added that "on the manner of continuing the negotiations we have understood better our mutual positions." "There are points in common and points that are not in common," Jalili said. "We have agreed to discuss this." The Iranian representative compared the diplomatic process to weaving traditional Persian carpets: progress in cases "moves forward in millimetres," he said. "It's a very precise work, in certain cases it's a very beautiful endeavour and hopefully the end result, the final product would be beautiful to behold," Jalili said. Meanwhile, the US State Department warned Saturday that Iranians must understand their leaders need to choose between nuclear cooperation or confrontation, which will only lead to further isolation, The statement from State Department spokesman Sean McCormack came after US Undersecretary of State William Burns joined international talks with Iran in Geneva in a bid to make Iran suspend sensitive nuclear work. Burns, it said, delivered a "clear simple message" that Washington was "serious" in backing proposed international incentives for Iran to halt uranium enrichment and that it will only engage in negotiations with Iran when it does so. The statement added: "We hope the Iranian people understand that their leaders need to make a choice between cooperation, which would bring benefits to all, and confrontation, which can only lead to further isolation."