Publishe Date: 3:51 PM - 6/15/2014 | Print

Iranian President, S. African FM Reiterate Expansion of Ties

Politics - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in a meeting in Tehran on Sunday underscored the necessity for using all capacities to further develop bilateral ties and mutual cooperation between the two countries.

"There is a strong political determination on the side of the Iranian and South African governments and nations to expand relations and cooperation in all fields, including political, cultural and economic arenas," Rouhani said during the meeting on Sunday.

He also called for the promotion and enhancement of cooperation between Tehran and Pretoria in the tourism, oil, mining, telecommunication, financial and banking sectors, and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to closely cooperate with South Africa in regional and international issues."

"I believe that specially the developing countries should cooperate with each other in the cultural, security, intelligence and, if necessary, in operational fields to fight terrorism, violence, poverty and extremism."

Nkoana-Mashabane, for her part, underlined her country's serious determination to deepen good relations and cooperation with Tehran, and said, "New fields have been identified for cooperation, specially in health and hygiene, science, technology and medicine as well as development of agricultural technologies and railway construction, on which we can work in addition to cooperation in the oil, energy and telecommunication sectors."

The South African foreign minister arrived in Tehran on Sunday morning to hold talks with high-ranking Iranian officials on expansion of bilateral relations as well as regional and global developments.

Earlier in the day, she met with her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif followed by a joint press conference, where both sides underlined their resolve to broaden ties and cooperation. During the press conference, Zarif said South African President Jacob Zuma is due to visit Iran in the near future.

Iran has striven hard to maximize relations with the African continent. The country is also an observing member of the African Union and has shown an active presence in previous AU summit meetings.

The country is considered as one of the AU's strategic partners along with India, Japan, China, several South American states and Turkey, while Tehran is also believed to be prioritizing promotion of its economic and political ties with the African states.

Speaking in a meeting with visiting Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in South Africa in March, South African President Zuma urged Tehran and Pretoria to promote economic relations and increase mutual cooperation between the two countries.

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