Visiting Australian FM talks business with Iranian counterpart
(AFP, Tehran) - Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer met with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharazi here on Sunday for talks on the two countries' economic relations and a host of international issues.
"The discussions covered the energy sector, joint investments, tourism and agriculture," Kharazi told reporters after his meeting with Downer.
The Iranian foreign minister also said the two had discussed disarmament, refugees, the war on drugs, and other international issues.
"We also spoke about human rights and the way they are approached by Islamic countries, and we believe that an exchange of our points of view will bring us closer," he said.
Downer, who arrived early Sunday on a two-day official visit at the head of a political-economic delegation, expressed Australia's willingness to help Iran with its tourism industry.
His visit is the second by an Australian foreign minister to Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. He is expected to meet President Mohammad Khatami and a wide range of other senior officials on Monday.
Iran and Australia enjoy good relations, notably in the commercial sector.
In 1998, trade between the two countries reached $300 million, of which $275 million represented Iranian imports of Australian goods, in particular agricultural produce and coal.
Last week, the Australian embassy announced that Downer is looking to "expand considerably" the "well-established and growing trade and investment links between Australia and Iran in the ecomomic area."
"Constructive high-level discussions on issues of regional and global importance including arms control, the Middle East, human rights, and efforts to combat organised people-smuggling," will be high on the minister's agenda, the embassy said.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)