April 04, 2018 - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan during March 27-29 to prepare the ground for the further expansion of relations with Iran’s northern neighbors.
The president has always placed great emphasis on developing close relations with Iran’s neighboring states as a main priority of his administration’s foreign policy. On March 27, Rouhani traveled to Ashgabat and was welcomed by Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, IRNA reported.
During this visit, made at the invitation of Turkmenistan, Rouhani and his Turkmen counterpart signed 13 cooperation agreements, including MoUs, in the fields of culture, art, science, education, trade, industry, electronic exchange of customs information and the formation of the Iran-Turkmenistan joint trade council.
The two sides also signed MoUs pertaining to issuing licenses between the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran and Turkmenistan’s Main State Standards Service, Turkmenstandartlary, and fostering collaboration in the fields of agriculture, sports and air transport.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Rouhani said that high-level constructive and fruitful talks were held between the two countries.
“We reviewed a list of the two states’ entire economic, cultural and political capacities, discussed issues of mutual interest in all fields, and made good decisions in the interest of both countries.”
He added that the people of Iran and Turkmenistan share cultural, historical and religious commonalities, which is coupled with an atmosphere of good neighborliness pervading the two countries’ bilateral relations.
“We are determined to use our entire capacities to expand and deepen our mutual cooperation.”
Describing Turkmenistan as a country with which Iran has brotherly and friendly ties, Rouhani stressed that the two states are required to use their enormous capacity to enhance cooperation. “This is the demand of the two peoples.”
Commenting on the agreements signed between two countries in energy, transportation and transit sectors, Rouhani said as two capable states in the field of energy, Iran and Turkmenistan have decided to further promote cooperation in this sector.
He stressed that given their geographic locations, Iran and Turkmenistan are two important gateways to Central Asia and the southern high seas and can help facilitate transit in the region.
Speaking at a joint meeting with Berdimuhamedow, Rouhani listed the executive operations of building the third power transmission line from Iran to Turkmenistan, cooperation between the two countries pertaining to the fields of oil and gas and the Caspian Sea, and offering facilities to develop transportation between the two states as new steps to foster economic relations between Tehran and Ashgabat.
Stressing the importance of establishing closer relations between Iranian and Turkmen border provinces, Rouhani said the two countries have numerous cultural and historical commonalities which can be used to further develop relations with each other in the fields of science, research, technology, communications and tourism.
Attaching considerable importance to the exchanges and relations between the people of the two countries, Rouhani called for offering facilities for promoting tourism between Iran and Turkmenistan, such as a direct flight from Tehran to Ashgabat.
Addressing the same meeting, Berdimuhamedow called for Iran and Turkmenistan to adopt similar attitudes towards many of the regional and international issues, particularly in the fields of establishing peace and accelerating global development. The two countries have always had close relations as well as constructive and positive cooperation in international organizations such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
“We are always thankful to Iran for the support which the Islamic Republic provides us.”
He attached great importance to expanding cooperation between Iran and Turkmenistan in the fields of ensuring energy security, fighting drug trafficking and resolving regional and international issues, adding that in their economic collaborations with each other, the two states are required to diversify trade mechanisms and use all their potentials to develop relations in transportation, agriculture and the energy sectors.
At the end of Rouhani’s visit to Ashgabat, Iran and Turkmenistan issued a joint press statement stressing that they are determined to expand relations with each other in all fields.
Baku was Rouhani’s second destination in his regional trip. The Iranian president was welcomed by his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, at Zagulba Palace upon his arrival.
During Rouhani’s visit to Baku, eight cooperation agreements were signed between Iran and Azerbaijan in a ceremony attended by the two countries’ presidents on March 28. They included MoUs in the fields of women and family, sports, cultural exchanges, health and treatment, joint development of oil exploration in the Caspian Sea, industry, economy and joint investment in the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway.
Addressing a press conference after attending the signing ceremony, Rouhani hailed the amicable ties between Iran and Azerbaijan, saying the historic agreements signed between the two sides are in the interests of the people of the two states, region and the entire world.
Shifting to the two countries’ cooperation in the field of transit, he said the implementation the North–South Transport Corridor is of great importance. Rouhani noted that Iran and Azerbaijan have numerous common interests in the Caspian Sea, urging the two sides to expand their cooperation in the fields of science, economy, trade, shipping, fishing and tourism to be able to make maximum use of the capacities of the Caspian Sea.
He added, “Today’s decision to jointly use the resources of the Caspian Sea indicates that the two nations, as well as other states, can benefit substantially in the light of cooperation with each other.”
Rouhani pointed to Iran and Azerbaijan’s joint venture to manufacture automobiles, expressing hope for the expansion of bilateral cooperation in other sectors, including tourism, agriculture, electricity production, health, pharmaceuticals and new technologies.
Speaking at the same press conference, Aliyev said, “We are making efforts to present an example of positive neighborly ties to the world.
Cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan during the past four years is indicative of the high level of relations between the two sides.”