Kocharian Meets Iranian Greek Foreign Ministers

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian held a meeting September 7 with a delegation led by Iranian Foreign Minister Smal Kharrazi. The delegation arrived in Yerevan to participate in the third meeting of foreign ministers within the Armenia-Iran-Greece cooperation. During the meeting the sides discussed the Armenian-Iranian relations and prospects for their development.

The sides stated that warm and friendly relations have already been established between the two countries. Special emphasis was laid on the development of economic cooperation and invigoration of the activities of the intergovernmental committees in this direction. Special attention was also paid to the implementation of joint projects. President Kocharian opined that relatively small-scale projects should be implemented first.

Later that day Kocharian met with a delegation led by Greek Foreign Minister Georgios Papandreu.

The sides pointed out that no political problems exist in the two countries’ relations–which is a favorable basis for the their further development.

Stressing the importance of expanding economic cooperation–the Armenian president pointed out that certain activization of economic relations can be observed after intergovernmental economic committees were formed.

The president said that Armenia–which adheres to the enunciated principles–consistently pursues the policy of developing bilateral and multilateral relations with European countries and integration into the European structures. Minister Papandreu stated his country’s willingness to render assistance to Armenia in its becoming a full member of the European community.

Kocharian and Papandreu also exchanged views on the problems of the Balkans–Black Sea and the South Caucasus.

The third meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Armenia-Iran-Greece trilateral cooperation in Yerevan on September 8 resulted in the signing of a memorandum on mutual understanding between the three foreign minister.

After signing the documen’s–the foreign ministers reported progress in the trilateral economic cooperation they founded three years ago. They said that very solid foundations have been laid for effective cooperation in the near future–however–there is much to be done. Noting that Armenia is satisfied with the results of the Yerevan meeting–Oskanian reported that the next meeting of the foreign ministers will take place in Athens in November 2000.

"We will have completed a whole cycle by then," the Armenian foreign minister said.

Oskanian said that the idea of dialogue among civilizations also found its place in the memorandum–which will make it possible to better understand each other. During the Yerevan meeting the ministers held not only economic but also "very effective and fruitful" political consultations–discussed the conflicts in the region–ways to settle them–the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh as well as conflicts existing in the regions of the cooperation member countries. Informally they also discussed the current situation in Dagestan. All the three countries advocate negotiated peaceful settlemen’s. In particular–Iranian foreign minister Kharrazi hailed the Kocharian-Aliyev direct contacts.

Kharrazi reported that in the energy sector very serious discussions are being held regarding the Armenia-Iran gas pipeline on the expert level in a bid to find concrete solutions. The North-South road is very important in the field of transport which will create a way to European countries via Armenia. "We are making great efforts to realize the project–to facilitate the communication and cooperation between Iran and Europe–it will also become a strategic road taking into account the realities in the given region," the Iranian foreign minister said.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Iran’said that both sides are ready to render aid to Greece if necessary as soon as a death-toll from the recent earthquake is announced.


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