Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Holds Talks with Iranian Ambassador
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Sredin held talks Friday with Iran's ambassador to Moscow, Mehdi Safari, ahead of next week's visit by a top Iranian envoy, the Russian foreign ministry announced.
The two sides "expressed satisfaction with the development of Russian-Iranian political dialogue and confirmed their commitment to expanding and strengthening bilateral ties and cooperation," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Sredin and Safari also discussed international issues and the problem of dividing the Caspian Sea ahead of a visit to Russia early next week by Iran's deputy foreign minister responsible for the Caspian region, Ali Akhani.
Akhani is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin's representative on the Caspian Sea, Viktor Kalyuzhni, diplomatic sources told the RIA-Novosti news agency.
Talks are due to focus on the five-nation Caspian summit of deputy foreign ministers from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, which is scheduled to take place in Tehran in mid-January.
The head of the parliamentary defense committee, Andrei Nikolayev, said Wednesday after a meeting with Safari that Iran was also considering allowing Russia access to the Indian Ocean, ITAR-TASS reported.
Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev is planning to travel to Tehran in late December or early January to discuss military cooperation projects estimated at some seven billion dollars, the news agency said.
Moscow announced last month it was scrapping a five-year-old agreement with Washington that banned conventional arms sales to Iran, a decision that prompted a White House warning that trade ties could suffer as a result -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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