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Tehran to Host Next Summit With Russia, Azerbaijan
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Tehran to Host Next Summit With Russia, Azerbaijan

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the next presidential summit between Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia will be held in Tehran.
Zarif, who was a member of the political and economic delegation that accompanied President Hassan Rouhani during his trip to Baku, was addressing a news conference in the Azeri capital at the end of a one-day trilateral summit on Monday.
Rouhani, his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, explored cooperation on joint economic projects and regional security issues in the Baku talks.
Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said, “The meeting will enable the three countries to expand cooperation in energy, transport, tourism, business, customs and other economic sectors.”
“Among the main issues discussed was how to proceed with the International North-South Transport Corridor project,” he was quoted by IRNA as saying at the news conference.
INSTC is a major initiative that seeks to connect India to Europe and Central Asia via Iran and Azerbaijan.
The corridor is aimed at bolstering trade links between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan and Bandar Anzali.
The economies of the three countries and those of dozens of other states are expected to benefit from the project.

 Joint Declaration
A joint declaration was released at the end of the event, in which participants agreed on cooperation to build lucrative and environmentally-benign economic infrastructures.
“The parties will adopt effective measures to develop transport and communications infrastructures” and exploit the opportunities that will arise for the transport of passengers and goods after the completion of the International North-South Transport Corridor, the declaration said.
The three countries also agreed to engage in closer cooperation on the completion of railroad parts of INSTC.
Among the joint railroad projects is the Rasht-Astara Railroad, talks on which have been ongoing since 2008.
It involves the construction of 369 km of bridges and railroads to link southern sections to northern ones.
Once completed, 22 new tunnels and 15 bridges will have been added to the route.
The attendees also committed in the declaration to collaborate more actively in the campaigns against terrorism and extremism, organized crimes, illegal arms trade, drug smuggling, human trafficking and cybercrimes.  
In addition, they underlined the importance of finalizing the convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which is being negotiated by the littoral states.

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