27 December IranExpert

Iran-Armenia cement regional political and economic alliance

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Armenian President Robert Kocharian a three-day official visit to neighbouring Iran which included talks with the country's top leaders, the signature of 10 agreement a staement by the Iranian President that Iran-Armenia cooperation won't damage anyone.

Iran and Armenia signed several memoranda of understanding on bilateral cooperation in different political, economic, scientific and cultural areas on Thursday. The memoranda of understanding were signed at the end of the three-day visit to Tehran of the Armenian President Robert Kocharian and his accompanying delegation.

In addition to a joint political statement signed by Khatami and his Armenian counterpart, ten letters of understanding were signed by the two countries' senior officials. The letters of understanding included issues such as construction of the strategic Kajiran Tunnel, which will connect the two countries, struggle against customs violations, preserving historical and artistic works, standardization of goods and bilateral cooperation in the areas of energy, environment and gas.

Kocharian arrived here Tuesday morning at the official invitation of President Khatami to hold talks with Iranian officials on regional issues and international developments. Kocharian also conferred with the Islamic Revolution Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei besides attending two rounds of negotiations with his Iranian counterpart.

Kocharian is accompanied by a high-ranking delegation made up of ministers of communications, education, culture, foreign affairs, ecology and economy as well as heads of the Customs Department and the Presidential Office.

Khatami further underlined Iran-Armenia cooperation is not harmful to anyone and that it may as well be realized if it would be aimed at the benefits of both countries as well as regional peace and stability.

The president was addressing a press conference at Sa'dabad cultural Complex following the signing of ten agreements on mutual Iran-Armenia cooperation at the conclusion of Armenian President Robert Kocharian's visit to Iran. President Khatami told reporters, "We believe that the regional countries may establish security, peace and stability through cooperation among one another without the interference of foreigners."

He added that the existing historical and cultural commonalties between Iran and Armenia and their location at a strategic region calls for the expansion mutual cooperation. He stressed, "Iran and Armenia are both faced with two issues, namely democracy and people's participation in their fate as well as making up for their backwardness and attempts directed towards progress in various economic, scientific, technical and humane fields."

He referred to the ten agreements signed during the visit of Armenia's President Kocharian to Tehran as marking the extensive Iran-Armenia cooperation as well as Tehran-Yerevan determination to have them realized. He hoped that the reached agreements will soon be put into operation under the supervision and follow-up of both countries' high-ranking authorities.

Pointing to two projects on gas-transfer and Kajaran tunnel, Khatami stressed the need for their quick realization. Robert Kocharian also praised Iran's attempts to sign the contracts, and stressed the need for their serious follow-up to accelerate their implementation.

Kocharian said, "The signed documents cover various aspects of mutual ties between the two countries including political, economic, scientific and cultural issues." Referring to the fact that the Caucasus region has constantly been of special significance to the world superpowers and that currently each of the ex-Soviet Union's independent states attempt to defend their independence and sovereignty, he hoped that the expansion of regional states' inter-relations will further strengthen their independence.

Kocharian underlined, "We believe that the regional issues should be solved by the states of the region." He added, "We attempt to secure our regional interests by extending fruitful relations rather than resorting to conflicts." At the second round of Khatami's negotiations with Kocharian held on December 26, the quick realization of the signed agreements was stressed by both sides and the joint Iran-Armenia economic commission was assigned to follow up the said agreements.

At the second meeting, a copy of the valuable book titled "Iran" was presented to President Robert Kocharian by his Iranian counterpart. The Armenian president also conferred with Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Kharrazi and Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani during his visit.

He also visited the Sacred Sarkis Church in Tehran and talked to Armenian Iranians. Iran and Armenia signed several memoranda of understanding on bilateral cooperation in different political, economic, scientific and cultural areas on Thursday.

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