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President Khatami arrives in New Delhi

New Delhi, Jan 24, IRNA -- Iran's President Mohammad Khatami arrived here on a four-day visit Friday afternoon to discuss economic and political ties between the two countries as well as security in the region with Indian officials.

According to IRNA reporter, Khatami was received by India's Minister of State for External Affairs, Digvijay Singh, and Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal, and several other Indian officials, at Palam Airport here Friday evening.

The ceremonial welcome for Khatami, who is here at the invitation of Indian President A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, will be held Saturday morning at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan or President House.

Indian Premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee will host a dinner in honor of the Iranian president Friday night at his residence.

Khatami will meet Iranian residents, including the students who are studying in Indian universities and the students of Iranian schools, here Friday night at Iranian Culture House.

The president is leading a high-level delegation comprising Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, Defense Minister Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Science and Technology Minister Mostafa Moin and Oil inister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

Speaking to reporters at the Mehrabad airport before heading for New Delhi Friday, Khatami hoped that the visit would lead to "good results" in the economic, political and security fields as well as the conclusion of an economic agreement.

"Ties between the two countries in cultural, political and economic fields have been forged since long past and have continued to become even stronger and more consolidated after the victory of the Islamic Republic," he said.

The president reiterated the need for Tehran and New Delhi to maintain and expand their bilateral relations in various areas, adding the two countries' leaders were resolute on this.

"The role of the two countries and their position in (maintaining) security in the region can become complementary to each other," Khatami said.

During his stay, the Iranian president will discuss the latest regional and international developments with President Kalam and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

He will participate in India's Republic Day ceremony (26 January) as a special guest. He is also to address Indian industrialists, businessmen, and scholars.

Khatami is further scheduled to be conferred an honorary doctorate degree by the Delhi University. Later, he will tour Hyderabad, the capital city of southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

President Khatami sends message to President Musharraf

Tehran, Jan 24, IRNA -- Flying over Pakistan's air space en route from Tehran to New Delhi, Iran's President Seyed Mohammad Khatami sent a message to his Pakistani counterpart President Pervez Musharraf on Friday.

In his message the Iranian president extended his warmest, most sincere greetings to General Musharraf and the brotherly, neighboring Pakistani nation, expressing hope that the two countries' relations would improve and get deeper more than ever before.

The Iranian president in his message also expressed hope that the historic, friendly relations of the two nations that have the strong support of the two nations' shared cultural, religious and historical backgrounds, would thanks to his last month presidential visit be further boosted.

President Khatami referred to his, and his accompanying delegation's "fruitful and beneficial" talks with President Musharraf nd other Pakistani officials during his last month state visit of that country, "which opened a new chapter in the two nations' relations."

President Khatami left Tehran for an official four-day visit of India on Friday, during which he will hold high-level talks with Indian leaders and attend as an honorary guest India's Republic Day celebrations.

The president is accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Kharrazi, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Defence Minister Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani and Science, Technology, and Research Minister Mostafa Moin.

He is due to hold talks separately with Indian President Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Saturday, and on Sunday to attend the Republic Day grand military parade in New Delhi.

On Monday, President Khatami will meet business and industry leaders and then he would give a speech addressed to the Indian academics and intellectuals.

Discussions with the Indian leadership are set to include Iran's bid to export Iran's gas to India, a project that is currently under study even though India's rival, Pakistan, lies between the two.

President Khatami paid a three-day visit to Pakistan in December, when he was asked by President Pervez Musharraf to mediate between his country and India on Kashmir crisis.

... Payvand News - 1/24/03 ... --

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