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Rafsanjani underlines Tehran-Baku cooperation

Tehran, Jan 25, IRNA -- Chairman of the Expediency Council (EC) Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and visiting Azeri President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday underlined the firm determination of Tehran and Baku to upgrade the level of mutual cooperation.

At the meeting, Rafsanjani referred to amicable relations between Iran and Azerbaijan during the tenure of the former Azeri president, late Heidar Aliyev, expressing hope that bilateral relations would further expand in the future.

He underlined Tehran-Baku close relations given cultural and religious commonalties between the two nations, citing Iran's assistance to the Azeri nation during the Karabakh crisis and the relief aid donated by the Azeri nation to quake-stricken people in the cities of Bam and Roudbar as good examples of mutual cooperation.

A violent earthquake measuring 7.7 on Richter scale rocked the northern city of Roudbar and neighboring areas in Gilan province on June 20, 1990, killing and wounding more than 77,000 people and almost razed the city to the ground.

A quake measuring 6.8 on Richter scale shocked the ancient city of Bam in southeastern province of Kerman on December 26, 2003, killing tens of thousands and flattening the city to the ground. The most ancient mud-brick citadel of the world, Arg-e Bam, was almost destroyed.

The EC chairman called for expansion of mutual cooperation in economic, transit and trade areas and expressed hope that the agreements in energy fields would be seriously followed.

He also expressed hopes that the Karabakh crisis would be settled at the earliest time.

President Aliyev, for his part, termed as appropriate the level of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan, saying that the two countries can play more effective role in the region by strengthening mutual relations.

He stressed that his visit to Iran is aimed at promoting relations in political, economic and defense areas.

He appreciated Iran's positive stance towards the Karabakh crisis, expressing hope that peace and stability would return to the region after the rights of the Azeri people are vindicated.

The Republic of Azerbaijan also includes the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast which is largely populated by Armenians but does not legally constitute part of Armenia. Following the dissolution of the USSR, hostilities intensified in Nagorny Karabakh in 1990s.

Aliyev arrived here Monday morning for an official three-day visit, his first since taking office. He and his delegation were welcomed at Mehrabad International Airport by Iranian Minister of Cooperatives Ali Soufi.

An official welcome for the Azerbaijan president was held at Sa'dabad Cultural Complex Monday evening.

Azerbaijan's ministers of foreign affairs, industries, education, health and development are accompanying Aliyev in this visit.

President Aliyev, since his arrival here yesterday, has held talks with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Khatami, and other senior officials including Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel.

Talks between the two sides have focused on bilateral relations as well as regional and international developments.

Iran and Azerbaijan during President Aliyev's stay will sign several documents for expansion of bilateral cooperation in the economic, cultural, and health fields as well as on border security.

... Payvand News - 1/25/05 ... --

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