Former UN chief Annan in Iran to "boost dialogue" between Tehran, int'l community

Published January 26th, 2014 - 01:52 GMT

Former UN chief Kofi Annan arrived in Iran Sunday in a visit "aimed at boosting dialogue between Iran and the international community," according to Agence France Presse.

Annan, who is now the head of a group of ex-gload leaders known as the Elders, will meet with Iranian officials behind closed doors over the next three days.

During the visit, the Elders "will exchange ideas with the Iranian leadership about peaceful ways of addressing conflict and healing sectarian divisions in the region. [We] see recent positive developments as a historic and strategic opportunity to end decades of animosity between Iran and the international community, [but] trust will only be built slowly, through continued goodwill and reciprocal action," the group's website said in statement on Saturday.

However, no further information was provided on the details of the meetings specifically.

Iranian media released a statement saying that they would take Annan to visit the mausoleum of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic, as part of the visit as well, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be the main host of the delegation.

During the visit, Annan will also be accompanied by the former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, South Africa's Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu and Mexican ex-president Ernesto Zedillo.

The Elders is a group of 12 global leaders that was established in 2007 "to promote peace, justice and human rights," according to its website.

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