Deputy Foreign Minister for education and research affairs Alireza Mo'ayyeri speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the third international dialogue `Great Volga Way' conference here on Saturday, underlined the need to make the waterway fully operational by taking advantage of the cultural, economic and environmental backgrounds of those inhabiting the region, IRNA reported from Tehran.
The one-day conference is aimed at assessing strategies for making the `Great Volga Way' operational.
"Promotion of cultural potentials and commonalties of both parties as well as sustainable environmental development can only be materialized only through cooperation among the states, provinces and cities located along the great river."
Today, nations are no more taken as separated islands, he pointed out, adding, "To be reasonable, they are rather required to solve their problems through international or regional cooperation and by depending on their cultural commonalties."
Turning to the variety of nationalities and ethnic groups of common customs and traditions residing in the Volga and the Caspian Sea regions, he said that the common grounds available for fully restoring the Grand Volga should be appreciated and used properly.
The official noted that Volga River banks and the Caspian coasts which are marked for their original and natural beauties provide plenty of touristic potentials and hoped that the littoral states of both waterways will establish a permanent tour to the area and facilitate attraction of interested tourists.
"Despite the special cultural features of the region, lack of knowledge on the history of the culture, traditions and customs of the Central Asian area is quite evident, which should be paid attention to by the researchers," he added.
The conference is attended by 150 national and foreign figures and it is held within the framework of the economic and cultural agreements inked between the two states in 2000 following President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Russia.
The event is mainly focused on coming up with proper ways for making Volga River operational.
The grand river originates at the northernmost point in Europe, Scandinavia, and terminates in the Caspian Sea.
The first and second international `Grand Volga Ways' conference were held in the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, Kazan (2000), and the city of St. Petersburg (2001) respectively.
A protocol on cooperation among the cities located along the Volga River, known as `Tehran Protocol' will be issued at the end of the conference later today.
Iranian President's Special Envoy on Caspian affairs Mehdi Safari noted, "Given that Volga River relies on the Caspian Sea for its survival, the Caspian Sea issue goes beyond the limited interests of the bordering littoral states."
The international conference is held under the auspices of the United Nations.
Russia is represented at the conference by a large delegation headed by its Deputy Foreign Minister and the President's Special Representative for Caspian Sea Problems Viktor Kalyuzhny.
A delegation from Russia's cities located on the banks of the Volga River arrived at the Iranian port of Bandar Anzali Friday by ship.
Russia is represented at the conference by a delegation composed of over 100 statesmen, business people and journalists headed by its Deputy Foreign Minister and the President's Special Representative for Caspian Sea Problems Viktor Kalyuzhny.
'Great Volga Way' Confab ends by focusing on environmental protection
The third international dialogue `Great Volga Way' conference ended here on Saturday by issuing a final statement on sustainable protection of environment and economic cooperation among the states bordering the waterway.
The one-day conference which opened at the premises of the foreign ministry research office this morning focused on examining strategies for making the `Great Volga Way' operational.
Referring to economic development and sustainable protection of environment, the statement underlined the establishment of the association of the cities borderig Volga River and called on all the concerned cities in the Baltic, Volga and Caspian region to become members of it.
"The association will be authorized either to take measures within the framewrok of the related international bodies such as the North-South Trade Corridor or act independently," it added.
According to the statement, the attendants called for more active participation in the project and promotion of North-South Corridor agreement to keep the public opinion informed on the goals of dialogue among civilizaions.
The signatories hoped that the draft on the association's charter will be finalized after being examined in the conference scheduled to be held in the capital city of the Russian Tatarestan Repbulic in 2005.
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