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Kharrazi stresses transfer of Iranian gas to Europe via Ukraine

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Tuesday stressed the importance which Tehran attaches to the plan for transfer of the country's gas to Europe via Ukraine, IRNA reported from Tehran.

According to the Foreign Ministry's press bureau, the minister made the remarks in the meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Konstantin Grischchenko in Kiev shortly after arriving for a two-day visit.

"Besides reiterating the significance of the plan for the transfer of the Iranian gas to European countries via Ukraine, Kharrazi described it as an important step in the two countries' relations," it said.

Iran sits on the world's largest proven gas reserves -- put around 28 trillion cubic meters -- after Russia.

The country has already been exporting natural gas to Turkey, which Iran looks at as 'a gateway for the export of Iranian natural gas to European markets'.

Kharrazi and his Ukrainian counterpart stressed on the expansion of relations between Tehran and Kiev, the Foreign Ministry statement said.

The Iranian minister said the two countries' economies are complementary and stressed on their bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, transportation, energy and technology as well as joint construction of airplanes, it said.

Kharrazi also called for the establishment of an Iranian trade center and a bank in Kiev in order to facilitate trade transactions between the two countries as well as signing a preferential tariff agreement between them, it added.

Grischchenko welcomed the Iranian minister's proposals and expressed hope over further growth of ties between Ukraine and the Islamic Republic.

Topics for discussions include ties between Tehran and Kiev in the political, economic, cultural and scientific fields and ways of expanding them.

Kharrazi, who arrived in Kiev Tuesday morning, also plans to meet President Leonid Kuchma, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, and Supreme Rada (parliament) Speaker Vladimir Litvin.

The Iranian foreign minister will head for Belarus from Ukraine to discuss ways of boosting relations between Tehran and Minsk in talks with the country's officials, including President Alexander Lukashenko.

... Payvand News - 2/3/04 ... --

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