Baku Optimistic About Kocharian’s Visit to Iran

BAKU (IRNA)–An Azerbaijan’s television station quoted Azeri Foreign Minister Velayat Heydar Quliyev saying that he was optimistic about the Armenia’s President Robert Kocharian’s visit to Tehran. Rejecting rumors that the visit would have a negative affect on Tehran-Baku ties–Quliyev dispelled rumors that claimed that Kocharian’s visit to Iran would damage the relations between Iran and Azerbaijan were "unsubstantiated and false."

Following his landslide victory in the presidential elections–President Khatami–on various occasions–invited presidents of all neighboring southern Caucasus countries to visit Iran.

"Kocharian’s visit to Tehran will not have a negative impact on Azeri President Aliyev’s forthcoming visit to Iran," noted Quliyev while adding that Tehran and Baku would continue to enjoy good neighborly relations.

He called for an end to the Karabakh conflict–an end that respects the international rights and territorial integrity of the nations involved.

Kocharian arrived in Tehran on December 25 and was officially welcomed by President Khatami at Sa’d-Abad Cultural Complex where the national anthems of the two countries were played and then the two presidents reviewed a guard of honor.

Kocharian also met with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in Iran.

The two presidents stressed that a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh crisis is the only way to restore peace and stability in the region.

In a joint statement–President Khatami and Kocharian expressed their dissatisfaction with any measure–action or policy that would undermine the regional security and national interests of both states.

In their joint statement–the two presidents discussed the latest developmen’s in the region including the peace process for the Karabakh conflict. Kocharian underlined the important role Iran plays in resolving the Karabakh conflict.

Furthermore–the two sides emphasized the sensitivity of the political situation in the region and pledged to abide by the United Nations International Conventions while trying to bring peace and stability to the region.

In addition to a joint political statement by the two Presidents–ten letters of understanding on bilateral cooperation in different political–economic–scientific and cultural areas were signed as well.

The documen’s included issues such as the construction of the strategic Kajiran Tunnel–which will connect the two countries–the prevention of customs violations–the preservation of historical and artistic works–the standardization of goods–and the bilateral cooperation in the energy–environment and fuel industries.

Iran’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs Kamal Kharrazi–and Minister of Defense Ali Shamkhani–also reviewed issues of mutual interests with the Armenian president during his visit to Iran. The two sides stressed the "strategic importance" of the bilateral cooperation between Tehran and Yerevan. The Armenian ministers of communications–education–culture–foreign affairs–ecology and economy as well as heads of the Customs Department and the Presidential Office accompanied Kocharian during his visit to Iran.

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