Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tehran Baku Building On Commonalities

Comment:Iran continues to build coalitions with its "perceived" neighbors. A wedge is being driven between these neighbors and the USA-this is a prelude to ...

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug. 21--President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, emphasized the need for expanding bilateral ties.

Speaking in the meeting on Sunday, President Ahmadinejad said Iran and Azerbaijan have a common culture, history and civilization, as well as friendly and deep-rooted ties, IRNA reported.

He noted that since the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the early 1990s, Tehran and Baku have worked for enhancement of ties in different areas.

“Any progress by Azerbaijan is tantamount to that of Iran and vice versa,“ he said.
Ahmadinejad noted that Iran welcomes joint cooperation at regional and international levels with Azerbaijan.

Aliyev, for his part, said that he considers Ahmadinejad’s visit to Azerbaijan as important because it will further improve Tehran-Baku relations.

“Memoranda of understanding and negotiations during President Ahmadinejad’s visit will further strengthen relations between two countries,“ he said.
Ahmadinejad arrived in Azerbaijan on Tuesday for his first official two-day visit to the energy-rich ex-Soviet republic and was officially received by his Azeri counterpart at the Presidential Palace.

During his stay in Azerbaijan, Ahmadinejad will hold meetings with Azeri officials and pay homage to the late Azeri President Geidar Aliyev at his tomb.
A joint statement will be issued at the end of the visit and the two countries’ presidents will attend a joint press conference.

Several agreements and a meeting with Iranians based in Azerbaijan are also on the agenda of President Ahmadinejad’s visit.

Analysts believe Ahmadinejad would seek to counter growing US sway in Azerbaijan, wedged between Iran and Russia on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, AFP said.
Azerbaijan has close diplomatic and trade relations with Iran. Both the countries are predominantly Shiite Muslim and share strong cultural ties.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and presidential advisor Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi are among senior officials accompanying the president in the visit.

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