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Iranian President stresses Tehran-Ankara role in peace, security

Tehran, July 29, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami here Thursday stressed the important role Iran and Turkey play in reinforcement of regional and international peace and security.

In a meeting with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Khatami said bilateral relations and bonds between the two countries safeguard the interest of the two nations and the Islamic world.

He highlighted the importance of further improving ties and consultation under ongoing sensitive conditions.

He said the fate of Iran and Turkey is interlinked, adding "The two states should take strides to promote ties due to the sensitive situation in the region and should continue the path."

The president noted the two neighboring states enjoy common goals and interest and called for a joint planning to fight terrorism and the threats posed on the sides by terrorist groups.

Pointing to expansion of economic cooperation with Turkey, Khatami said, "The two countries' economy can settle several needs through a complementary role."

He assessed as "fruitful" bilateral cooperation and investment of Iran and Turkey in other countries including the Caucasus region and Central Asia and said, "Good historical ties, political urgency and the international situation should lead to further consolidation of mutual relations."

"Those in any country who are not interested in strengthening Tehran-Ankara relations, do not seek the interest of the two states and the region.

"We should try to boost cooperation based on respect to mutual and regional interest and with no interference in domestic affairs," Khatami stressed.

Erdogan, for his part, pointed to deep-rooted bilateral ties and said mutual relations between Iran and Turkey received a great boost over the past 20 months and exchange of visits between senior officials have been effective in promotion of ties and political bonds.

He stressed the importance of expanding cooperation between the two countries to fight terrorism regarding ongoing situation and threats.

The premier outlined his country's stance on developments in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, saying Tehran-Ankara cooperation could be fruitful in establishment of stability in Iraq and the region.

He stressed the need to safeguard territorial integrity of Iraq and unity among all the ethnic and religious groups.

He expressed satisfaction with good economic relations between the two countries and called for implementation of venture projects in various fields.

Erdogan cited transportation, construction, textile and information technology as among appropriate fields for investment.

He also stressed the importance of expanding cultural relations, saying great success can be achieved in the region through efforts in this regard.

Iran's First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref, Minister of Road and Transportation Ahmad Khorram and Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh as well as Turkey's ministers of state for foreign affairs and energy and natural resources were also present at the meeting.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived here early Wednesday for an official two-day visit to discuss avenues for bolstering bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues.

The visit of the Turkish prime minister coincides with the opening of the 18th meeting of the Iran-Turkey Joint Economic and Trade Commission which he will attend along with Aref.

Iran and Turkey are expected to sign several documents on security, economic and cultural cooperation to further expand relations.

Trade exchanges between Tehran and Ankara were valued at 2.4 billion dollars last year, showing a dramatic 91 percent increase compared to that of the previous year.

The two sides have expressed optimism they can further increase the figure to 10 billion dollars in the near future.

... Payvand News - 7/29/04 ... --

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