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19 January 2012 - 12:07

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is in the Turkish capital, Ankara, at the head of a high-ranking delegation to attend the 23rd session of the Joint Economic Cooperation Commission of the two countries.

Salehi said the main purpose of the session would be paving the way to further bolster economic and trade transactions between the two neighbors.

The value of “economic and trade transactions between the two countries hit USD15 billion in the past few years,” the top Iranian diplomat told reporters, adding that the figure rose “from USD5 billion a few years ago and we plan to increase that level to USD30 billion. In that session we will discuss ways to achieve that goal."

Turkish officials also expressed their resolve to further enhance ties between the two countries.

During his Ankara visit, Salehi also held talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul behind closed doors.

Initiatives to enhance ties between the two countries were reportedly top on the agenda during both meetings.

Turkey's Economy Ministry, in a statement ahead of the economic session, said that the current level of trade ties between the two countries still do not match the much stronger political ties and cooperation between the two countries.

Iran and Turkey have managed to sharply increase the level of their bilateral trade over the past few years and officials of the two countries hope that the session will help facilitate further cooperation between the two neighbor countries.

Turkey's Economy Ministry figures show that the level of trade between Iran and Turkey was just one billion dollars in 2000. Just a decade later in 2010, the figure had surpassed 10 billion dollars.

Members of the Iranian delegation attending the two-day session, who are senior officials from different Iranian ministries, will hold technical talks with their Turkish counterparts to develop new initiatives to increase cooperation between the two countries in different spheres, including trade, transportation, energy and industry.

The two sides are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding at the end of session which would detail how the agreements between the two countries would be implemented.
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