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Iran FM wraps up Azerbaijan visit

Tehran, Nov 29, IRNA-Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki wound up a day-long visit to Azerbaijan and returned home Monday night.

Talking to reporters at the Mehrabad International Airport here, Mottaki assessed his meetings with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Parliament Speaker Murtuz Alesqerov as "good and friendly."

"Ties between Iran and Azerbaijan are based on mutual interests and security as well as the need to preserve great historical, religious and cultural commonalties," he said.

The minister, who was in Baku at the invitation of his Azeri counterpart, referred to his talks with senior Azeri officials on the subject of finding a legal regime to govern resources of the Caspian Sea, saying, "In this visit, avenues for implementing agreements signed during visits by the Iranian and Azeri presidents were discussed.

"The presidents of Iran and Azerbaijan will meet in the near future when they attend the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Mecca in the interest of finding new ways to expand their relations.

"The two presidents will also attend the official inaugural ceremony for the project to transfer Iranian gas to Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan," he added.

The Iranian minister disclosed that there were certain customs and tariff obstacles in the way of bolstering economic cooperation.

But, he added, "during meetings with Azeri officials Iran called for the removal of such obstacles in order to spur activities of Iranian companies in this country."

In the meeting between Mottaki and Mammadyarov, the two sides discussed expansion of bilateral cooperation, particularly between their countries' parliaments.

The Azeri speaker, who described Iran as a "powerful and influential country" in the region, said Iran's wise policies has played an important role in promoting regional stability and tranquility.

He, moreover, said that the parliaments of the two countries had the "highest-ever level of parliamentary ties" and said the Azerbaijan parliament favored boosting of relations between Tehran and Baku.

Mottaki, for his part, said parliaments represent the will of their nations and are highly influential in the expansion of ties.

He assessed the two countries' regional and international cooperation as "very crucial," saying, "Iran is ready to transfer its experiences to Baku."

Turning to the subject of Iraq, he said the only way to establish stability and security in the country would be to give Iraqis the right to run their own country, thereby necessitating an end to the occupation by foreign forces.

Meanwhile, Mottaki, talking with reporters before his departure for Tehran, said that during his meeting with Azeri President Aliyev he conveyed a message from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Azeri president.

He said the two sides had agreed that they would not let any third country adversely affect their mutual relations.

"Azerbaijan currently seeks new partners in the region and the world in various fields including energy. Iran, with its resources, has the great potential to boost cooperation with this country in all areas," the Iranian foreign minister said.

... Payvand News - 11/29/05 ... --

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