Rouhani on Trade Tour to Caucasus, Central Asia

Iran and Armenia signed five MoUs and cooperation agreements to boost relations in such fields as economy, tourism, sports and culture
Iranian and Armenian delegations meet in Yerevan on Dec. 21. Iranian and Armenian delegations meet in Yerevan on Dec. 21.

President Hassan Rouhani has embarked on a three-nation tour that will take him to Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, at the invitation of the respective countries' heads of state, Serzh Sargsyan, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Almazbek Atambayev.

Together with Russia and Belarus, the three countries form the Eurasian Economic Union.

On Wednesday morning, the president arrived at the first destination, Armenia's capital Yerevan.

After the official welcoming ceremony, high-ranking Iranian and Armenian delegations sat down for talks on expansion of bilateral ties.

Speaking in the meeting, Rouhani said Tehran is ready for deepening economic and scientific cooperation with Yerevan.

"The Islamic Republic seeks closer relations with EEU member states," he said. "To strengthen economic ties, including techno-engineering cooperation, we need to forge banking connections," he said.

Rouhani described the spread of terrorism as "a dire trouble" for the region, saying the two capitals should work to "root out the virulent virus".

Sargsyan said there are no major obstacles to closer collaboration between the two neighbors.

"We are determined to develop trade and cultural relations," he said, adding that energy, water, transit and banking can be other potential sectors for boosting collaboration.

The Armenian president called for increased bilateral cooperation to fight terrorism and promote security to the region, praising Iran's role in restoring regional stability, particularly in Syria and Iraq.

After the meeting, Rouhani and Sargsyan met separately and addressed a joint press conference.

Later in the day, the Iranian and Armenian presidents attended the signing ceremony of five memorandums of understanding and cooperation agreements between Tehran and Yerevan in different fields, including tourism, sports and culture.

The presidents were to attend the Armenia-Iran Business Forum.

During his daylong visit, Rouhani was also to meet Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan.

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