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Austrian President Thomas Klestil starts Iran visit

Austrian President Thomas Klestil, on the first day of his visit to the Islamic Republic, hailed 'historical, friendly and deep-rooted' ties between the countries, saying his trip was aimed at accelerating their expansion, IRNA reported from Tehran.

photo: ISNA

He said he will discuss political, economic and cultural issues, the result of which will also affect relations between Iran and the European Union.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, for his part, described Austria as among the centers of modern European civilization in the European Union, with a glamorous historical background.

He said, "Austria's international stances have always been associated with wisdom and justice."

Khatami hailed Klestil's visit an 'important step' in strengthening ties between Tehran and Vienna as well as the European Union.

The Austrian president arrived here early Saturday evening for a four-day visit at the head of a political and economic delegation.

Klestil is accompanied by Austrian vice chancellor and transport minister, minister of social security and head of the Euro-Austria chamber of commerce among others.

Several representatives of the private enterprises as well as Austrian economic and banking groups are also accompanying Klestil on the trip.

photo: ISNA

According to economic specialists, the visit will strengthen economic bonds between Tehran and Vienna, which date back to more than four centuries.

Several memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed by the two countries' private sectors during the visit.

On Monday, a joint economic forum will be held with the participation of President Klestil and Khatami as well as heads of commerce and economic chambers of the two countries.

Khatami: Iran calls for a calm and stable region

Tehran, Jan 25, IRNA -- Official talks between the high-ranking Iranian and Austrian authorities chaired by President Mohammad Khatami and his Austrian counterpart Thomas Klestil were held at Tehran Sadabad Complex on Sunday.

A report released by the media department of the Presidential Office quoted President Khatami as saying that given the stance of both states in the history and their firm civil foundations, they possess the potentials and grounds required for expansion of ties in all fields.

Turning to the similar stances adopted by Iran and Austria on denouncing terrorism, violence, war and suppression, he declared Iran's effort to promote global tranquility, friendship and mutual respect.

"Iran calls for a calm and stable region and would use all its potentials to this end," he added.

The president hoped that the visit of the Austrian delegation, which is accompanied with a number of tradesmen and selected academics will help the private sectors of the two sides to take effective steps to expand mutual ties.

Turning to Europe as Iran's major trade partner and Iran's upcoming fourth development plan, he noted, "Given that Iran-Europe relations have been based on mutual respect, understanding, reasoning and dialogue; we believe that any misunderstanding can be eliminated."

The chief executive referred to the agreements reached between Iran and the European states and the voluntary signing of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) additional protocol by Iran and said that despite complying with its commitments, Iran chose to hold talks with Europe.

"Iran is now committed to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations within the framework of Tehran Deceleration and welcome full cooperation with IAEA," he added.

President Khatami referred to the initiative on conversion of 'Dialogue Among Civilizations' to an international foundation as a crucial measure and underlined Austria's decisive role in promoting peace, progress of the human community and social justice.

For his part, Klestil expressed satisfaction over the visit and hoped that by taking joint steps towards broadening relations, all available potentials will be used to this end.

Pointing to the long background of cooperation between the two countries and expressing the interest of his country in constant friendly contacts with Iran, he said that as a member of EU, Austria also supports expansion of Iran-EU ties.

Klestil expressed satisfaction over Iran's voluntary signing of NPT additional protocol as a positive move.

Turning to the reflection of Iran's domestic affairs in Europe's media and political circles, in particular the issue of upcoming Majlis elections, he praised the success achieved on human rights and hoped the February-20 elections will be held properly.

He termed Iran's political, economic and strategic stance in the region as quite unique, and making reference to the problems Iran has undergone in recent years due to its proximity to Iraq and Afghanistan, hoped for establishment of peace and security in the region through close cooperation of the regional states.

The report further said that Minister of Industries and Mines Es'haq Jahangiri, who also attended the meeting, expressed Iran's interest in expansion of economic cooperation between the two states.

Jahangiri called for attempts towards reaching a trade balance and participation of Austrian investors in domestic projects and joint cooperation of the Iranian and Austrian companies in the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also referred to Iran-Europe gas project as a pivotal one, whose significance has been reiterated by the heads of both states.

Austrian president presents Khatami a list of aid for Bam

Tehran, Jan 25, IRNA -- Austrian President Thomas Klestil here on Sunday presented to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Khatami a list of his country's relief aid for the quake-stricken people in Bam, southeast Iran.

Austrian president, while presenting the list of relief aid to Khatami, said that numerous death toll in Bam had deeply disturbed the people and government of Austria.

An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck the city of Bam, in Kerman province, on December 26, killing tens of thousands of people and destroying almost 90 percent of the homes.

Klestil added that the Austrian government, in the aftermath of the quake, dispatched humanitarian aid to help relieve the sufferings of the quake-stricken people in Bam and solve a part of the problems in the city.

He also expressed hope that Austria could contribute to the restoration the city of Bam.

Klestil further said that Austrian companies would contribute to rebuilding schools, hospitals, residential units in the city as well as dispatching the equipment needed.

President Khatami, for his part, thanked the people and government of Austria for their assistance for the quake-stricken people in Bam, saying the relief aid packages are more valuable morally than financially.

Iranian president added that such sympathies and relief aid helped to alleviate the widespread suffering of the people in Bam. He also appreciated all the countries which provided relief aid to the people in Bam.

... Payvand News - 1/25/04 ... --

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