Armenia wants to see Iran more involved in region, FM says

Armenia wants to see Iran more involved in region, foreign minister says

Azg, Yerevan
14 Apr 04

Text of Tatul Akopyan’s report in Armenian newspaper Azg on 14 April
headlined “Construction of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline is starting
this year”

On 12-13 April Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan, who was in
Iran on an official visit, had meetings with the secretary of Iran’s
Supreme National Security Council, Hasan Rowhani, Information Minister
Ali Yunesi, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and First Vice-President
Mohammad Reza Aref.

After the meetings Vardan Oskanyan gave a news conference. He said
that the problem of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline had been discussed
during the talks with top Iranian officials. “The authorities of
Armenia and Iran are determined to construct the gas pipeline. We hope
that during the visit by Iran’s oil minister, [Bizhan]
Namdar-Zangeneh, to Yerevan, the final version of the document will be
signed and we shall start construction this year,” Oskanyan said.

The head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s CIS department, Mehdi
Safari, said that Iran’s oil minister would visit Yerevan next
month. Safari said that the final document on construction of the gas
pipeline would be signed in Yerevan. The Armenian foreign minister
mentioned that construction of the gas pipeline would give a new
quality to Armenian-Iranian relations and would be of serious
significance for the region. “As for bilateral economic programmes, we
have discussed the problems of the Kadzharan tunnel, construction of
the power plant on the Araks [Araz] river and the transit problems
between the two countries,” Oskanyan said.

Regional problems, including Karabakh, were also discussed during the
meetings. During his meeting with the first vice-president of Iran,
Mohammad Reza Aref, Oskanyan noted that, unlike Turkey, Iran had a
balanced position in the region. “We want Iran to be more involved in
regional processes, and construction of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline
will increase Tehran’s role in the region,” Oskanyan said.