Considering our affinities with this continent, we should place Africa among the priorities of our foreign policy and solemnly take measures in support of this continent.” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar SalehiIranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says the expansion of ties with the African continent is important for the Islamic Republic. “Considering our affinities with this continent, we should place Africa among the priorities of our foreign policy and solemnly take measures in support of this continent,” Salehi said in an address to a gathering of Iranian expatriates in the Ghanaian capital of Accra on Sunday. The Iranian foreign minister also called for "effective measures" to promote the ties between Iran and the countries in the African continent, in particular Ghana. Ghana’s economic growth heralds a “bright future” for the country, he said. During his visit to Ghana, Salehi is set to meet with senior Ghanaian officials, hold talks on the expansion of Tehran-Accra relations and discuss the latest regional and international developments. He will also participate in the inauguration ceremony of President-elect John Dramani Mahama. Thirteen African heads of state, one prime minister, two vice presidents and 18 government foreign delegations are expected to attend Mahama’s swearing-in ceremony at Independence Square in Accra on January 7.
In a meeting with Benin's Foreign Minister Nassirou Bako-Arifari earlier on Sunday, Salehi noted that as the current president of the African Union, Benin can play a significant role in international developments.Salehi praised the enhanced relations between Tehran and Porto-Novo, and called for the further expansion of cooperation between the two countries. Bako-Arifari, for his part, lauded Iran’s policy toward Africa and Benin in particular and said, “as a regional power” and as the chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Iran can promote the level of diplomatic ties between countries. The two officials also discussed the latest developments in the African continent, including those of Mali and the Central African Republic. On Saturday, Salehi began his tour of three African countries, namely Benin, Ghana and Burkina Faso, in order to expand the Islamic Republic’s relations with these countries. YH/HMV/HJL