Iran determined to deepen ties with Africa: FM @B= Tehran Times Political Desk

February 3, 2008 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki held talks with a number of African leaders over expansion of bilateral relations on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia on Friday and Saturday.

Mottaki met with the presidents of Sudan, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania, the foreign ministers of Ghana and Chad, Lesotho’s prime minister, and Ethiopia’s parliament speaker, asserting that Iran is determined to boost cooperation with African countries.
He called year 2008 “the year of expansion of relations between Iran and Africa” and expressed hope that the upcoming Iran-Africa summit will pave the way for further development of relations.
Iran-Africa summit will be held in Tehran in the near future at the level of deputy foreign minister in order to discuss boosting cooperation in trade, investment, and implementation of joint projects, the foreign minister explained.
Mottaki also briefed the African leaders on growing cooperation between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog over the country’ nuclear activities.
The African officials lauded Iran’s initiative to hold Iran-Africa summit and expressed support for Tehran’s peaceful nuclear activities.
Djibouti’s president Ismail Omar Guelleh said, “The real spirit of Islam is dominant in Iran, thus progress of Iran is the progress of the Islamic world.”
Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade expressed Dakar’s support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, saying, “The report by the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies showed that Iran’s nuclear activities pose no threat to the world.”
Sudan’s President Umar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir reiterated Wade’ view towards Iran’s nuclear plan, saying, “We absolutely defend Iran’s right to access peaceful nuclear technology because we believe Iran’s scientific might belongs to all Muslims and the Islamic world needs a powerful country to stand up to the U.S. imperialism.”
“Good relations between Iran and the regional countries prove that Iran is the friend and the supporter of its neighboring countries,” he added.
Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore stated that Iran’s nuclear dossier should be investigated at the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Security Council should keep in view IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei’s positive report about Iran’s growing cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog.
The foreign ministers of Ghana and Chad also expressed their countries’ interest in expansion of cooperation with the Islamic Republic and briefed Mottaki on the latest developments in bilateral relations.