Armenian president: Tehran-Yerevan ties not limited to words
Tehran, August 2, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said on Tuesday that Yerevan's amicable relations with Tehran are not limited to words.
President Sargsyan who is to visit Tehran to attend President Hassan Rouhani's swearing-in ceremony on August 5, said in an exclusive interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that the long-standing Iran-Armenia relations is a great guarantee for further promotion of bilateral ties.
The two nations can promote a bright prospect for consolidating future ties and remove obstacles to develop all-out cooperation, he said.
According to reports, a high-ranking delegation, including Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan, Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources Ashot Manukyan, are expected to accompany the Armenian President in his visit to Tehran.
Very few nations have managed to maintain ties over a long time, standing by each other in the course of the millennia-old history and continuing their close engagement up to the present time based on mutual respect, Sargsyan said, referring to the long history of Tehran-Yerevan relations.
Armenia and Iran are certainly keen on consolidating friendly ties, he said.
President Sargsyan, answering a question on Armenia's plans for promoting bilateral relations with Iran, said that Yerevan is taking practical steps to help realize joint economic plans between the two countries.
The two neighboring nations see no limits to enhancing bilateral relations.
He also expressed satisfaction over the current high-level diplomatic relations between Tehran and Yerevan. However, he remained critical of the two countries' economic ties, arguing they lag behind diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The two countries enjoy great potentials for boosting bilateral trade and economic relations which have so far remained untapped, said the Armenian President.
Commenting on construction of the Armenian segment of the Persian Gulf-Black Sea International Transport Corridor, Sargsyan said the project has a reasonable regional justification and would help develop infrastructures of Armenia, Iran, Georgia, Bulgaria and Greece as well as other countries along its route.
As to the natural gas and electrical power swap deals between Iran and Armenia constituting one of the main areas of cooperation between the two countries, the Armenian President said that natural gas and electricity swap is significant not only in terms of economic profitability but also in terms of security.
Touching upon investment by the Iranian companies in Armenia, he said that Yerevan attaches great importance to engagement of Iranian firms in development of infrastructural projects in the country.
Grounds are prepared for the activity of Iranian companies across the country, the Armenian President said.
Asked about Iran-Armenia cooperation on maintaining peace and stability in Caucasus, President Sargysan said that Iran has always advocated finding peaceful solutions for all disputes through political talks.
Yerevan appreciates Tehran's principled and moderate stance in addressing Karabakh dispute, he said.
The Karabakh dispute started between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1988. Despite an agreement of ceasefire in 19994, the two sides have not signed any peace agreement. Clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops in the disputed region, in eastern Armenia and Southwestern Azerbaijan, has claimed thousands of lives.
Responding to a question about the result of cooperation between Iran, Armenia and Russia on regional and international peace and stability, Sargysan said that the three nations are friendly countries both in bilateral and trilateral levels and their peaceful policies in the region serve as a strong support for peace and stability, while it represents a strong barrier against extremism.
They are unanimous in promoting regional security and creating a firm front in the fight against terrorism, he said.
The Armenian President also denounced promotion of Islamophobia, noting that similar to other phenomenon which instills hatred towards others, Islamophobia is an unacceptable matter.
Iran-Armenia relations are clear example of excellent ties between Christian and Muslim states and it can serve as a role model for other countries, he said.
Sargsyan also emphasized on the importance of tourism ties between Iran and Armenia and described it as a way to bring closer the two nations.
'The more the people of Iran and Armenia understand each other, the more they can trust and this would create an appropriate ground for implementing joint projects in different arenas,' he added.
According to the President, opening office for Halal food products in Yerevan is among the steps taken by the Armenian authorities to host Iranian tourists.
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency