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Khatami says Iran set to expand ties with Switzerland, EU

President Mohammad Khatami, who was heading a high-ranking delegation in a four-day visit to Switzerland, arrived in Tehran on Thursday night, IRNA reported.

Khatami was welcomed at Tehran Mehrabad airport by the head of the Supreme Leader's office Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, Vice-President Mohammad-Reza Aref and a number of ministers.

The president termed his visit as positive and voiced Iran's interest in bolstering ties with Switzerland and EU.

President Khatami's visit took place at the official invitation of his Swiss counterpart President Joseph Deiss to attend the 34th World Economic Forum (WEF) in the eastern Swiss resort town of Davos, where he delivered the opening address of the forum.

President Khatami's keynote speech to the forum concerned the world economy and global peace and security.

Speaking to reporters, he said that his visit to Switzerland focused on two major points including the expansion of mutual ties as well as attending the WEF meeting.

Concerning bilateral relations, the president said that Iran is keen on bolstering ties with Switzerland and the EU.

Turning to the international status of Switzerland as a politically independent state, he underlined the significance of the talks held between the two countries and its benefit to both parties.

Referring to the Iranian expatriates residing Switzerland and their established status in cultural and specialized fields, he noted that they are prepared to assist Iran.

Khatami further stressed that he had positive talks with Christian and Jewish leaders and said the talks, once analyzed, will show the close interrelation among various religions.

"The Swiss authorities expressed their condolences for the recent tragic earthquake in Bam city and brought up the issue of the humanitarian aid provided by their government and nation, including the seven-million-euro fund raised by the people for the quake victims," he added.

Some 30 presidents and heads of states, 75 ministers, 28 religious leaders and over 2,000 economic experts are participating the economic meeting which is to end on Sunday.

The conference focuses on a wide range of topics such as the impact of terrorism on world economy, globalization, and cultural and religious dialogue.

The forum was founded by Professor Klaus Schwab in 1970 to provide a venue for major business and political leaders to come to terms on global issues. He is also the WEF president.

... Payvand News - 1/23/04 ... --

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