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Italy FM arrives in Iran to discuss bilateral ties

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini arrived in Tehran Monday night to discuss bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues, IRNA reported.

Talking to reporters at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport, Frattini said the visit is taking place at the official invitation of his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi.

"We are well aware of the nature of relations between Iran and the Shiite community in Iraq and are happy that this community which enjoys special importance has adopted a moderate stance in that country," he said.

He added during his talks with Kharrazi, the sides are to discuss the role Iran will play in Iraq and that whether it would be expanded.

The minister expressed hope that a democratic and broad-based government would be established in Iraq in cooperation with Iran.

"We do not ignore Iran's special political position in the region and seek cooperation with Tehran in this regard," he said.

Frattini is expected to hold separate meetings with President Mohammad Khatami, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hassan Rowhani.

Among 15 EU member states, Italy has been among leading political and economic partners of Iran during recent years.

Several exchanges of visit by the two countries' high-ranking officials paved the grounds for promotion of bilateral relations in all fields.

The volume of trade exchange between Tehran and Rome stands at 2.5 billion euros over the first eight months of 2003 which showed a nine percent rise compared to the similar figure in the previous year.

... Payvand News - 1/27/04 ... --

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