Visiting South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Zuma met with First Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref in Tehran on Monday. Aref was quoted by the Iranian official news agency (IRNA) as saying that strengthening relations with African countries is among Iran foreign policy priorities. He said that the two countries have solid potential to bolster economic cooperation.
The first vice president stated that developing countries can complement each other in meeting their needs.
He said hopefully with the signing of an agreement in the sixth joint economic commission meeting, the interests of the two countries in various areas will be met.
Aref added that the Third World countries can cooperate on issues of international significance including anti-narcotics smuggling and Palestinian problem. He also called for more active cooperation between the private sector in Iran and South Africa.
He alluded to the need to refrain from having double standards on the issue of terrorism adding, ``There should be distinction between freedom movements and terrorism.'' Aref called for giving due respect to the nations which are fighting for freedom.
South African foreign minister said her country is ready to strengthen bilateral ties in diplomatic, economic fields as well as environment and tourism sectors.
She pointed to the cooperation between Tehran and Pretoria in the framework of their joint economic commission and expressed hope that bilateral ties will strengthen in all areas, specially in trade. She also lauded Iran's role in the anti-racism conference held in South Africa last year and welcomed cooperation among developing countries in socio-economic development and anti-narcotics campaign.
She also invited Iran to take part in the conference on sustainable development. The South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Zu! ma and Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang arrived in Tehran on Sunday on an official visit.
The officials were welcomed at Mehrabad International Airport by the Iranian deputy health minister as well as the South African ambassador to Tehran.
The fifth meeting of the Joint Iran-South Africa Economic Commission was held in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa last year. (Albawaba.com)
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