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12/4/06

Turkish PM wraps up Iran visit

Ankara, Dec 4, IRNA-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived here late Sunday from a visit to Iran. Erdogan visited Iran upon an invitation of Iranian First Vice-President Parviz Davoudi and was accompanied by a senior economic-political delegation.

In Tehran he held separate meetings with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Vice-President Parviz Davoudi and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

In the meetings the two sides discussed avenues for bolstering bilateral relations as well as latest regional and international developments.

Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Guler and Director-General of Turkey's state-run oil and natural gas company (Botas) Huseyin Saltuk Duzyol were in the Turkish prime minister's delegation.

Before concluding his visit on Sunday, Erdogan and Davoudi held a joint press conference.

At the conference, Davoudi said that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey can provide strong support to the Islamic world and pave the way for Muslims to have a better life.

"Iran and Turkey are two big and powerful Islamic countries.

Expansion of ties between these two Islamic states will redound to the benefit of the Islamic world as a whole," Davoudi told reporters.

He expressed Tehran's readiness to spur Turkish investment in Iran and avail of Turkish expertise in various fields.

"Iran welcomes Turkish investment in oil, gas and petrochemicals.

Iran and Turkey can also jointly invest in a third country," he added.

Pointing to the two states' increasing cooperation in the banking sector, the vice-president said that bilateral cooperation in this sector would be further discussed at the ECO and D-8 summits.

He also called for bolstering of cooperation in the field of tourism, saying the two countries had the potential in this regard.

Davoudi said the Iran-Turkey Joint Economic Commission will hold a session in the near future to explore ways of boosting cooperation.

He said that in his talks with Erdogan he stressed Iran's inalienable right to access nuclear energy for peaceful ends and that no evidence has been found of any diversion by Iran of its stated purpose.

"We impinged on the Turkish side that Iran's nuclear program is under supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)." The vice-president then praised the Turkish stance on its peaceful nuclear activities.

On developments in the region, particularly in Iraq, he said that regional states should boost their cooperation at finding a solution to the problems of Iraq and the Iraqi people.

"Tehran and Ankara share the view that Iraq's integrity should be kept intact and stability and security restored to the country." He added that the two countries also support the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Davoudi said that a strong government in Iraq was the key to ending the violence in that country.

Erdogan, for his part, said Tehran and Ankara were both agreed on the need to bolster mutual relations without limitations.

He said the two countries' trade volume had reached USD 7 billion from 2.1 billion in 2001 and proposed raising it to USD 10 billion in the near future.

He praised the good neighborly ties between Tehran and Ankara based on friendship and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

The Turkish prime minister said that in his talks with Iranian officials, the sides discussed the problems in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine which, he said, were their joint concerns.

He also took the occasion to raise obstacles in the way of greater Turkish participation in Iranian economic activities, saying stronger Tehran-Ankara cooperation would enhance their role in affairs of the region.

He said the two sides also exchanged views on the roles of Iran, Turkey and Syria in restoring stability to the region as well as avenues for Tehran and Ankara to use their great potentials in this regard.

Erdogan said Turkey believes Iraq's territorial integrity should be maintained, a view which, he added, Tehran supports.

Referring to latest developments in Lebanon, he said that the current sensitive situation in Beirut calls for Hezbollah's continued presence in its political life, and stressed the need for unity among its various religious, political and sectarian groups.

He said a solution to the problems of Lebanon should be sought within the Lebanese community.

He also stressed that all countries which believe in democracy should respect the result of the Palestinian election in February and not try to dictate their policies on the duly elected government.

... Payvand News - 12/4/06 ... --



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