Oskanian Kharrazi Focus on Karabagh and Economic Cooperation

Tehran (IRNA)–Iran and Armenia discussed the expansion of already increasing bilateral cooperation–as well as regional and international issues–including Mountainous Karabagh Republic.

Visiting Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian–told his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi–that developmen’s in Karabagh–as well as upcoming negotiations with Azeri officials–are important and stressed the need to maintain regional consultations–particularly with Iran–for the sake of regional stability.

"What is of crucial importance to us," said Oskanian–is that Iran has managed to implement a balanced policy toward Armenia’since its independence–and displayed neutrality on the Mountainous Karabagh issue."

Kharrazi proposed the continuation of ministerial level talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan–saying–"The Islamic Republic of Iran’supports dialogue in settling the Karabagh issue."

Oskanian voiced readiness to hold negotiations with Azerbaijan on any level. "This is why we are going to Prague and we expect Azerbaijan to specify its position regarding to the process," but was quick to criticize Azerbaijan’s newly appointed foreign minister for announcing that Baku would neither tolerate Karabagh’s independence–nor its joining Armenia.

"Such statemen’s will create serious political problems for them. It would be preferable if the newly appointed minister refrained from such statemen’s and got involved in the negotiations instead," Oskanian said–stressing that sooner or later Azerbaijan will have to review its approaches.

Considering the high-level political relations already established between the two countries–the sides focused on economic cooperation–the Kajaran tunnel–construction of the Arax hydro-electric power station–and specifically–the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline.

Both Iran and Armenia expect the project to boost cooperation between them–and play an important regional role. Construction on the pipeline is expected to begin soon after finalizing the agreement between the two countries.

Oskanian and Kharrazi signed a Memorandum on Understanding that provides a $1 million permanent loan to Armenia–and also discussed cooperation in the health care–education–and culture sectors.

Oskanian also met with the secretary of Iranian National Security Council Yasan Rohani–first vice-president of Iran Mohammad Reza Arif–Iran’s minister of information Ali Yunesi–as well as representatives of Iran’s Armenian community.

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