Zarif arrives in Finland as part of three-nation tour

TEHRAN, Aug. 19 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif landed in the Finnish capital Helsinki early on Monday at the first leg of his three-nation European tour for high-level talks.

Speaking to reporters upon arrival, Zarif said the tour is aimed at holding consultations with European officials on ways to ease tensions in the West Asia region.

He will visit Sweden and Norway afterward.

"Today the situation in our region is special, and broad consultations are needed on this issue,” the top diplomat said.

"Especially ahead of the UN General Assembly in New York, it is necessary to work for such coordination given the current special situation we have," he added.

The Iranian foreign minister said, "Finland, Sweden, and Norway are all active in our regional issues; Sweden was responsible for the first Yemen summit, and Norway seeks to organize a summit on Afghanistan. So, it is necessary to hold dialogue with these countries on regional issues as well."

Referring to an initiative for dialogue in the Persian Gulf set forth in the past by Finland, Zarif said it is almost similar to the plan Iran has earlier raised.

"A few years ago, I came here to Helsinki, and proposed an initiative for a regional dialogue forum in the Persian Gulf, and the Finnish have always been interested in these issues."

Zarif, who visited Kuwait before leaving for his Scandinavian tour, said he will visit a number of Asian countries in the next phase and continue the talks with them.

He stressed the importance of increasing opportunities for dialogue in the region, particularly between the countries of the Persian Gulf.

MNA/4696187

News Code 149033

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