He referred to the African continent as a virgin land which has been released from the grip of colonial grip and whose people have safeguarded their identity despite being oppressed by colonial forces. He said that they are keen to make up for their backwardness by taking steps towards development.
"Given their suspect towards the colonial forces, the Africans have a tendency to cooperate with countries such as Iran for their national development.
"They are well aware of Iran's achievements and have declared their readiness for joint undertakings with Iran," he added.
Turning to the satisfactory relations between Iran and the African states and their close cooperation with the country on the international scene, he noted that in the recent meetings of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors, the Africans managed to stand against the US greed.
The chief executive pointed to Iran's special approach towards the eastern, southern and the oppressed Muslim countries and said, "We need to place special focus on cooperation with foreign states, otherwise we will end up facing problems.
"We are required to benefit the foreigners expertise and transfer our knowhow to the foreign countries. The African continent can pave the ground for industrial, economic and social development in Iran."
The president referred to the wide range of requirements by the African states and said that time is ripe for mutual assistance.
"We should not only participate in the development process of the African countries, but should proceed with taking measures towards our own progress.
"During the recent tour to Africa, several documents on transfer of technology in line with the international criteria and Iran's interests were signed."
He said that during his visit agreements were mutually reached on production of tractors as well as establishment of automobile manufacturing plant, power transmission line and power plants.
The president also noted that cooperation in the fields of agriculture, training technicians, presenting technical and engineering services were the subject of agreements with several African states.
President Khatami said, "Given that the African continent opens a new horizon, if we fail to use the available opportunities, we will undergo great material and spiritual losses."
He also briefed the reporters on his various meetings witt Muslim clergies and leaders of other faiths.
Upon his arrival at Tehran Mehrabad Airport, the president and his entourage were welcomed by head of Supreme Leader's office Hojatoleslam Mohammadi Golpayegani, First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Aref and a number of ministers and government officials.
During his visit the African nations of Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Benin, Zimbabwe and Uganda the president held talks with the heads of state and various officials about mutual, regional and international relations.
... Payvand News - 1/22/05 ... --