Rouhani: Expansion of ties with neighboring states – Iran’s top priority (UPDATE 2)

Details added, first version posted at 20:04

Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 8

By Seymur Aliyev, Umid Niayesh – Trend:

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said that expansion of ties with neighboring countries is his country’s top priority.

Rouhani made the remarks addressing a trilateral meeting with Azerbaijani and Russian presidents in Baku Aug. 8, Trend correspondent reported from the event.

Iran welcomes any idea for boosting ties and cooperation with neighboring countries, Rouhani said.

He added that the trilateral meeting in Baku is a positive and valuable idea providing an opportunity for exchange of viewpoints and the meeting corresponds to mutual interests.

“Iran believes that in today’s world one country alone can’t tackle all the challenges and enjoy the opportunities on its own,” Rouhani said, adding that for the acceptable peace, welfare, development and progress for people of each country, there should be cooperation and interaction with other countries, especially with the neighbouring countries.

He further said that Iran’s formal foreign policy regarding the other countries, in particular the neighbouring countries, is based on cooperation, synergy, and finding ways to access to mutual interests, and this foreign policy is a win-win policy.

In this regard, cooperation with regional countries and multilateral dialogue mechanism are very useful and necessary, he added.

He also said Iran and Azerbaijan have taken significant steps towards the expansion of bilateral ties.

Bilateral ties between Iran and Azerbaijan in the fields of economy and diplomacy have witnessed positive and constructive developments, Rouhani added.

The efforts made with an aim to expand trade and economic ties between Tehran and Baku, the MoUs on customs cooperation, selling power, linking railways of the two countries, building and getting use of dams as well as power plants of Khodafarin and Qizqalasi are notable, he said.

He further said the ties between Iran and Russia are on the right track and have enjoyed good progress in the last two years.

Close cooperation and dialogue between Iran and Russia in recent years regarding the settling of Iran’s nuclear case and inking a nuclear agreement with the P5+1, as well as the two countries’ constructive cooperation in addressing the Syrian crisis is an example of cooperation that can be expanded to other joint areas and trilateral cooperation, Rouhani said.

He said the interaction between Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan in a trilateral format not only can help strengthen and develop the capacity and potential existing between the three countries in various political, cultural and economic spheres, but also can create synergies and convergence, and new opportunities to deal with challenges in the region.

“Obviously such an arrangement is not against any third party or country,” he said, adding it is merely a framework for talks focused on the development of regional cooperation between the three countries.

The Iranian president further proposed to hold the next trilateral meeting in Tehran.

He also underlined that despite the wide capacities for boosting economic ties between the three countries in various fields, including energy, transportation, banking sector, investment and tourism, employing this capacity has been hindered by various obstacles, which need serious will to be addressed practically.

“In this regard preparing and signing basic documents and tripartite agreements have a prominent role,” he said.

Rouhani further referred to terrorism, extremism and foreign inference as the main challenges faced by the region.

“Undoubtedly, economic growth and social welfare requires establishment of peace, stability and security, and today our region needs that more than ever,” the Iranian president underlined.

He further praised Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s role in hosting and holding the important trilateral event.

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