Oskanian Meets Iranian Counterpart, Leads Join Economic Summit

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Foreign minister Vartan Oskanian Friday met with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki who was in Armenia to participate in the seventh meeting of the Iranian-Armenian Commission on Economic Cooperation.
The Armenian foreign ministry said both ministers spoke highly of the bilateral ties over the last 15 years saying also the results of this cooperation have been reflected in a series of achievemen’s.
Minister Mottaki who is the Iranian cochairman of the Commission, spoke briefly about its agenda, saying the sides had an in-depth discussion of a set of bilateral programs.
Then the two men exchanged thoughts on regional developmen’s and both countries’ relations with their neighbors. Oskanian spoke about presidential election in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The ministry said at the request of Oskanian Mottaki presented the pace of talks over Iran’s nuclear program, reconfirming that Iran is for negotiated settlement of the standoff with the West through the IAEA.
Mottaki is accompanied by a member of Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Reza Talainik and a number of foreign ministry officials in his one-day visit.
The seventh session of the Commission is discussing a wide scope of bilateral issues relating to energy, agriculture, banking sector, tourism, transport and communication and trade. At the end of the meeting the sides are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding.
Armenian minister Armen Movsisian termed Armenian-Iranian relations as %u218embracing,” saying there is serious potential to boost them.
Manouchehr Mottaki for his part said despite apparent progress in these relations Iranians and Armenia’s want to feel the results of it. According to him, the positive record of bilateral contacts, the political of both countries’ leadership and the current potential open new horizons for effective partnership.
Mottaki said the two governmen’s are developing an agreement on free trade regime, which would outline a prospect for a long-term cooperation. The Iranian minister also mentioned the plans to build a hydropower plant on the border the Arax River, a new railway to connect both countries and a refinery in Armenia to process Iranian oil.
Mottaki said these projects, when materialized, would give a fresh impetus to cooperation on the regional level and would benefit its peoples.
Armenian-Iranian trade, according to him, rose to $200 million last year from $180 a year before, but he said this number could be much higher. Experts estimate that Armenia and Iran may raise their bilateral trade up to $1 billion.

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