Sargsian’s Iran Visit Continues; Meets with Khatami

TEHRAN (Combined Sources)–According to Iran Daily–President Mohammad Khatami during a meeting with Defense Minister Serge Sargsian stated that cooperation between Iran and Armenia will help advance mutual interests and promote regional security and stability.

Khatami told the visiting Armenian minister that the presidents of the two countries have opened a new chapter in Yerevan-Baku economic cooperation and should now exert efforts in implementing mutually beneficial accords. To further such cooperation–the Iranian president spoke about the need for road and railways that establish a north-south connection.

Echoing Khatami’s remarks–Sargsian noted that the promotion of cultural–educational–and economic cooperation will bolster regional security.

Sargsian reiterated this sentiment during a Tuesday meeting with his Iranian counterpart–Hojatoleslam Hassan Rowhani–who raised the Karabagh issue. Rowhani said that the conflict’s resolution will stem from direct dialogue between Yerevan and Baku–and assured Sargsian that Iran is ready to offer its assistance in resolving the issues. Ruling out a military solution–the Iranian minister also noted that the people of Karabagh must be involved in deciding the fate of region.

Responding to Rowhani–Sargsian said that Armenia is ready to settle the Karabagh crisis within the framework of a collective settlement–which addresses all of the disputed issues. Sargsian also thanked the Iranian government for supporting Armenia’s membership in the North-South transit corridor.

The same day–Sargsian also met with Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani–who stated–"The Islamic Republic of Iran is willing to broaden ties with neighboring countries," and that it is interested to mediating a peaceful solution to the Karabagh conflict.

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