Iran`s new FM makes first international appearance

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.

PTI



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

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