Ahmadinejad Cuts Short Armenian Visit

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday unexpectedly cut short his visit to Armenia to return home, according to the Armenian presidential press service.
"We have learned that the Iranian president has cancelled all his programs today because he plans to return home ahead of time," a spokesperson of the press service was quoted as saying.
Ahmadinejad was due to visit and lay a wreath at the Genocide Memorial and address the National Assembly. He was also to visit the Blue Mosque in Yerevan and meet with Iranian nationals residing in Armenia.
According to some news agencies, Ahmadinejad’s decision was prompted by "unexpected developmen’s in Iran".
Before flying home Ahmadinejad had a working breakfast with Armenian parliament speaker Tigran Torosian, who stressed the need for expansion of parliamentary, political, economic and cultural ties with Iran.
Armenian deputy foreign minister Gegham Gharibjanian said Tuesday that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian had agreed Monday evening in Yerevan that President Ahmadinejad needed to cut short his visit.
"Ahmadinejad had urgent reasons to end his visit ahead of time," he added.
Ahmadinejad left Yerevan for Tehran at 12 pm, although he was supposed to do so at 6.30 pm.
Gharibjanian said he had spoken with a deputy foreign minister of Iran who cited urgent reason for president Ahmadinejad to fly home earlier than planned.
Pressed by journalists the Armenian deputy foreign minister said the Iranian side cited ‘serious’ argumen’s for cutting Ahmadinejad’s visit short, adding that he could not divulge.
"These argumen’s were conveyed to the Armenian leadership and they have no relation to Armenia," he said.
Gharibjanian recalled that the former president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, had visited the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan during a 2004 visit to commemorate the victims of the Armenian genocide.
Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute Hayk Demoyan does not think that Ahmadinejad’s refusal to visit Tsitsernakaberd is connected with his personal stance on the well-known historic events.
"I don’t think the refusal to visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial was associated with Iranian President’s position on the Armenian Genocide. It’s necessary to take into consideration that he is the leader of an Islamic country and it’s a delicate issue," Hayk Demoyan told ArmInfo.
Nevertheless, he reminded that there have been precedents of Iranian high officials visiting Tsitsernakaberd like the ex-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammed Khatami. "That is why I see no problem if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also visited the Memorial," he said.
Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has termed the outcome of his visit to Armenia and the agreemen’s signed as very good and constructive, Iranian news agencies reported.
Speaking to reporters at Tehran Mehrabad International Airport upon his return Tuesday, Ahmadinejad said that both Iran and Armenia have a common stance on efforts made to reinforce stability, security and peace in the region and remove tension through discussion.
"Tehran and Yerevan have concerns about ongoing situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and stressed the speedy settlement of woes and the restoration of tranquility and security based on justice," he said.
Pointing to bilateral economic cooperation between the two neighbors, he added that both parties called for following up strategic projects, including construction of railways, refineries and gas and power transfer lines.
He stated that Iran and Armenia agreed to build a dam and power plant on the Arax River to make optimal use of its waterpower.
The president said Tehran and Yerevan enjoy growing, sustainable ties, adding that during his talks with his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian and other senior officials, the sides discussed far-ranging issues of interest.
The two countries signed memoranda of understanding in economic, banking, consular, joint investment, energy and electricity transfer fields.
"The Iranian and Armenian officials have a resolve to expand relations and cooperation," Ahmadinejad said.
Iran and Armenia’signed four memoranda of understanding and issued one joint statement in Yerevan on Monday.
The foreign ministers of Iran and Armenia’signed a MOU to establish consulates in both countries.
The deputy governor of the Central Bank of Armenia and the Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Safari inked an MOU on banking cooperation between Iranian and Armenian central banks.
Safari and Head of Armenia Development Agency signed the third MOU on making joint investmen’s.
Head of Iran Saba Nirou Company and the deputy energy minister of Armenia inked another MOU to construct a wind power plant in Armenia.
Ahmadinejad and his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian also signed a joint statement at the end of their negotiations.

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