TEHRAN—President Serzh Sarkisian, who is in Iran to attend the presidential inauguration ceremony met with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, the presidential press service reported.
Rohani expressed the hope that the Armenian President’s visit would give new impetus to the development and expansion of bilateral relations, taking into account the historical and cultural affinities between the two nations.
President Sarkisian noted that 2017 is a landmark year for both Armenia and Iran in terms of political events: Armenia held parliamentary elections according to a new Constitution, while the people of Iran elected the head of the executive authority; this year also marks the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which ushers in the modern era in the centuries-old historical ties. In this context, Sarkisian emphasized that the two countries were able to develop and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in all spheres of activity during this period.
The two presidents took the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues related to both bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The parties concurred that Armenian-Iranian economic relations offer great development potential, which needs to be tapped through consistent efforts. They expressed confidence that this will help boost bilateral trade turnover and step up mutual investments.
The presidents stressed the importance of major projects underway in a number of sectors, as well as the implementation of new and promising programs. They highlighted energy-related projects, in particular gas and electricity, as well as the importance of using international transport and transit routes linking the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea across the territories of Armenia and Iran.
The sides also emphasized the importance of the ongoing talks between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union over a free trade agreement. Rouhani pointed out that significant steps have been made to that end, stressing that the signing of an agreement in the near future would be quite fruitful. Rohani also highlighted Armenia’s efforts to abolish a visa regime between the two countries, which he said was an important step for expanding business ties, stimulating entrepreneurship, investment and tourism between the two countries.
The Presidents also touched upon regional security, including the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Presenting the current status of this process, Sarkisian reaffirmed Armenia’s position, which implies negotiated peaceful settlement in the OSCE Minsk Group format.
Noting that his country was an advocate of regional peace and stability, the President of Iran stressed that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved exclusively through political means.