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Zarif in Kyrgyz capital on last leg of Central Asia tour

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C) attends a joint economic meeting with businessmen in Bishkek, April 18, 2017.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is in Kyrgyzstan on the last leg of his Central Asia tour for talks with the country’s senior officials about ways of broadening bilateral relations in various areas.

Zarif has been heading a 20-member delegation of businessmen and company representatives from Iranian public and private sectors during the three-nation tour, which has already taken him to Turkmenistan and Georgia.

The first two visits featured three crash-course political and economic meetings.

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The top Iranian diplomat arrived late Tuesday in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, where he attended a joint economic meeting with Iranian and Kyrgyz businessmen in attendance.

Zarif said at the meeting that after President Hassan Rouhani’s “very successful” trip to Kyrgyzstan last December, which witnessed the signing of several documents between the two nations, “the ground is well prepared for the expansion of bilateral cooperation.”

“We know no limit to the enhancement of ties with Kyrgyzstan, and we are ready for bolstering our cooperation in all spheres,” he added.

The Iranian foreign minister also expressed hope that the agreements arrived at between the Central Banks of Iran and Kyrgyzstan would contribute to their private sector activities.

Speaking on a different note, he said, “While the threat of extremism and terror menaces the region and the world, cooperation, cultural promotion and tolerance are among the most important methods of confronting” the scourges.

On Wednesday morning, Zarif met with his Kyrgyz counterpart, Erlan Abdyldaev, to explore ways of promoting “comprehensive cooperation” particularly in the economic sector.

The senior Iranian official later sat down for talks with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) meets with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev in Bishkek, April 19, 2017.

During the talks, the Kyrgyz head of state called for closer economic relations between Tehran and Bishkek, saying efforts must be made to remove the obstacles to bilateral trade.

Zarif, in turn, stressed the need for more cooperation in the area of economy as well as joint efforts against terrorism and extremism. 

The tour takes place at the invitation of the respective countries’ top diplomats on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the republics’ independence from the Soviet Union.

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