18 December AFP

Armenian president to visit Iran next week


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Armenian President Robert Kotcharian will make an official trip to Iran on December 25-27 for talks on bilateral relations, the Armenian embassy in Tehran said Monday.

A meeting with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami would cover bilateral relations, construction of a gas pipeline between the two countries, international issues and the situation in the Caucasus.

Tehran acted as a mediator between Yerevan and Baku in their conflict over Nagorny Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave in Azerbaijan, that proclaimed its independence in 1991 and was supported by Armenia until a ceasefire in 1994 after years of bloody clashes.

A visit to Tehran by Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliyev, expected in September, was cancelled. The two countries are at odds over oil rights in the Caspian Sea. Iran has a sizeable Armenian community of some 200,000 people, living mainly in Tehran and Isfahan.

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