TEHRAN, July 27 (Mehr News Agency) – Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou, who arrived in Tehran Saturday morning for a two-day visit, in separate meetings with Iranian officials, including his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi, Majlis Speaker Mahdi Karrubi, and President Mohammad Khatami, discussed bilateral ties as well as several regional and international developments.

Iranian and Cypriot officials are determined to promote bilateral economic ties. The advantages for both countries of joint investments and making more facilities available to each other is clear when considering the geographic location of Iran and Cyprus from the standpoint of transportation and communications links.

 

In recent years Iran and Cyprus have carried out numerous political discussions at different levels in order to expand bilateral relations. In addition, Tehran and Nicosia have signed several accords to institutionalize their ties.

 

During Kharrazi's visit to Nicosia last year, Iran and Cyprus signed two agreements, one on combating drug trafficking and another on commercial shipping.

 

Iran and Cyprus are located on the main drug smuggling route between Afghanistan and Europe. Therefore, their cooperation is necessary for any international campaign to uproot drug trafficking.

 

Tehran and Nicosia also signed an agreement on cultural, educational, and scientific cooperation last year. The agreement paved the way for bilateral cooperation in launching joint research programs, exchanging educational and scientific groups as well as exchanging students and lecturers between Iranian and Cypriot universities.

 

Cyprus has great experience in areas such as shipping and tourism, and Iran has useful experience in establishing refineries. Also, Iran can make investments in Cyprus to prepare the ground for the export of Iranian commodities to Europe.

 

However, the September 11 attacks seriously damaged the tourism industry, and Cyprus has been no exception to this.

 

After September 11, 2001, the Cypriot government began applying certain restrictions for issuing visas, and this has decreased the number of Iranians visiting the country.

 

To remove this obstacle, several delegations from Cyprus have traveled to Iran, and this shows Nicosia's sincere interest in easing the restrictions for Iranians visiting their country.

 

Removing the restrictions will increase the presence of Iranians in various areas of the Cypriot economy, particularly in the private sector.

 

There are in fact many opportunities for Iran and Cyprus to boost their relations, particularly in the private sector, considering all that has been said and also the long-standing relations between the Iranian and Cypriot nations.

 

AA/HG

End

MNA

 

News Code 937

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