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Zarif Will Sign Friendship Agreement With Asean

Zarif  Will Sign Friendship Agreement With AseanZarif  Will Sign Friendship Agreement With Asean

Iran will sign a cooperation treaty with Southeast Asia at an upcoming meeting that will also be attended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials, a Singaporean diplomat said.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will sign the document at a gathering of Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers starting on July 30 in Singapore, Ong Keng Yong, the city-state’s non-resident ambassador to Iran, said in an interview.

“The Asean countries welcome anyone who wants to sign onto the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation,” said Ong, a former Asean secretary general, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

The Asean meeting comes two months after the Trump administration pulled the US out of an international nuclear agreement with Iran, and moved to choke off the Islamic Republic’s oil exports. The US is also trying to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, with Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un holding a unprecedented meeting in Singapore last month.

Pompeo is Trump’s point man for both nuclear issues. North Korea will be represented by Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

Ong said he was unaware whether Zarif planned any meetings with Pompeo or other officials. “I’m only looking at his visit from our bilateral perspective,” he said.

The 10-member Asean bloc represents 630 million people and economies with a combined gross domestic product of around $2.4 trillion.

The leaders of Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the US are expected to attend the 13th East Asia Summit in November. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong–this year’s Asean host–said last month that Trump had accepted his invitation to the gathering.

Iran’s Expediency Council, a 44-member state arbitration body, has approved Iran’s joining TAC in Southeast Asia. Members of the powerful council convened in early June to discuss the bill that was passed by Parliament but not ratified by the Guardian Council.

TAC is a peace treaty among Southeast Asian countries established by the founding members of ASEAN, a geopolitical and economic organization of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia.

According to ASEAN’s website, the purpose of the treaty is to promote perpetual peace, everlasting amity and cooperation among their peoples, which would contribute to their strength, solidarity and closer relationship.

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