Iran, Azerbaijan Call for Security Cooperation

TEHRAN (Combined Sources)–Iran and Azerbaijan on Saturday called for an expansion of mutual cooperation in a bid to help reinforce security and stability in the region.

"Cooperation among regional countries will turn the region into one of the largest and most secure energy zones in the world," Azeri President Ilham Aliyev told visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki.

Mottaki traveled to Baku from Moscow where he discussed major bilateral, regional and international developmen’s with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Mottaki and Lavrov met in Moscow Friday to discuss the upcoming completion of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. The plant has been scheduled for completion for a long time; the latest startup date given by Russia’s Atomstroiexport, which is working on the project, is February 2009. During their meeting, Lavrov expressed Moscow’s readiness for security cooperation with Tehran and the countries in the Caucasus region to secure peace and stability of the region.

During his meetings in Baku Saturday, Mottaki told Aliyev that Iran was satisfied with the growing cooperation between the two neighbors in energy, trade, and transportation.

"Iran, is a friendly and brotherly country, and plays a key role in regional developmen’s,” Aliyev said during talks. "If we hold dialogue among regional countries, stability and peace will be established in the region and there would be no need to extra-regional powers.”

According to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi, Aliyev has backed an Iranian proposal for regional countries to hold constructive dialogue on Caucasus issues, saying that productive talks will help the Caucasus region to achieve political stability without the help of foreign countries.

Qashqavi also said that Mottaki is scheduled to visit Germany on Monday to discuss key developmen’s in the Caucasus, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi.

"Manouchehr Mottaki’s visit is a continuation of his recent trips to Russia and Azerbaijan and is directed at holding consultation with his German counterpart on leading regional developmen’s and helping establish peace and stability in the energy-rich Caucasus region," Qashqavi told reporters Monday.

Meanwhile, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, will arrive in Tehran Tuesday to discuss the recent developmen’s in the Caucasus with senior Iranian officials. Nalbandian is set to meet with Mottakki, along with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the Speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larinji, and the Secretary of the National Security Senior Council, Said Jalili.

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