Iran`s new FM makes first international appearance
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Last Updated: Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 23:24
Istanbul: Iran's new Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Wednesday made his first international appearance as he joined regional counterparts for economic cooperation talks in Istanbul.

Salehi, also Iran's nuclear chief, made brief welcoming remarks for the participants as his country handed over the rotating presidency of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) to Turkey.

Meeting at an Ottoman palace at the bank of the Bosphorus, foreign ministers and senior officials from the 10 member states were to prepare the ground for tomorrow's summit of their leaders, to be attended also by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Salehi was appointed foreign minister last week after Ahmedinejad sacked Manouchehr Mottaki in a surprise move signalling an apparent falling out over nuclear policy. Ahmadinejad was expected to arrive in Istanbul late today and meet behind closed doors with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The visit of the Iranian pair comes ahead of a second round of talks between Iran and the 5+1 group of world powers over Tehran's nuclear programme, to be held in Istanbul next month.

Efforts to end the row will be "naturally" on the agenda of bilateral talks between Turkish and Iranian officials on the sidelines of the ECO summit, a Turkish diplomat said.

Turkey's Islamist-rooted government has established close ties with Tehran, insisting on a diplomatic solution to the nuclear row and reluctant to back a tougher line against the Islamic republic, its eastern neighbour.


First Published: Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 23:24

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