Saturday, July 17, 2004

Iran Says Greater Mideast Initiative Aimed At Strengthening Israel

Description of Selected News: "Iran Says Greater Mideast Initiative Aimed At Strengthening Israel

KHARTOUM (IRNA) -- Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Kharrazi said here on Friday, "Main objective of the U.S. Greater Middle East Initiative is stabilizing Israel's status in the region and providing for the expansion of the Zionists' hegemony." Kharrazi who is in Sudan added, "The foreign powers are meanwhile after exertion of military and political pressure over the regional countries to secure greater interests for themselves." The Iranian foreign minister made the comments in a meeting with his Sudanese counterpart Mustafa Uthman Ismail, adding, "The real intentions of those who talk about the Greater Middle East Initiative, reforms, and democracy are highly suspicious." Referring to the prevailing conditions in Iraq and occupied Palestine, he said, "The presence of outsiders in Iraq is aimed at securing their hegemony over the region and its vital energy resources, and the Israelis, too, are taking full advantage of the U.S. broader presence in the region." The Iranian foreign minister added, "The ultimate goal of Washington in Palestine, too, is paving the path for Israel's full hegemony, not only over the Palestinians, but throughout the Islamic world."

Elaborating on Iran's fully peaceful nuclear projects, Kharrazi criticized the West for making much ado about nothing in Iran's case, while observing total silence regarding Israel's notorious nuclear arsenal and hundreds of nuclear warheads. He further reiterated, "Iran has never been pursuing military objectives in its nuclear programs, and will never do so, while preserving its natural right to take peaceful advantage of the nuclear energy, which we will never abandon."

Kharrazi also expressed regret over the bloody clashes in Sudan's western Darfur region, expressing hope that Sudan's government would manage to solve the dispute there needless of foreign interference and relying on national initiatives.

He meanwhile congratulated the Sudanese government for the establishment of peace in southern Sudan following many years of deadly clashes with the insurgents there, announcing Iran's readiness to participate in reconstruction and economic development of the war torn regions in southern Sudan. Emphasizing on the need to boost the level of Tehran-Khartoum comprehensive ties and cooperation, particularly in economic field, Kharrazi said, "Our economic ties do not match the excellent level of our political relations and important steps need to be taken in order to fill the gap in that respect." He added, "It is easy to boost bilateral economic ties, keeping in mind the two countries' capabilities in industrial, oil, energy, and agriculture fields."

Kharrazi said that Sudan's economy is "rapidly growing" and that that country has achieved noticeable capabilities in oil industries during the past few decades. The Sudanese foreign minister, too, during the meeting expressed delight over the Iranian delegation visit to his country, saying, "The Iranian foreign minister and his accompanying delegation's trip on the threshold of the historic state visit of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is of great significance for Khartoum." Uthman Ismail added, "Sudan has recently got rid of Africa's longest civil war, and is on the verge of entering a new phase, whose main characteristics is peaceful coexistence of the Sudanese nation." He added, "Signing six protocols with the insurgents in southern parts of the country shows how determined the Khartoum government is in securing peace and stability for the Sudanese and the region." The Sudanese foreign minister said, "Khartoum's general policy is based on peaceful coexistence with all its neighbors and refraining from interference in others' internal affairs, while boosting regional and international cooperation." He added, "Sudan's relations with its neighbors and other countries in the world have reached a satisfactory level today." Sudan's foreign minister said that Khartoum's stands on Iraq and Palestine are pretty close to Tehran's stands, stressing, "The occupying forces need to leave Iraq as soon as possible and without any pre-conditions, while the ignored natural rights of the Palestinians, including the right for the Palestinian refugees to return home must be fully respected." Uthman Ismail also reiterated that Iran's insistence on taking full advantage of its right to take advantage of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is quite legitimate adding, "Sudan supports Iran's initiative on declaring the Middle East as a region free from nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction."

Iran's Foreign Minister arrived in Khartoum on Friday morning atop a high ranking political and economic delegation on a two-day visit for talks on issues of mutual interest.

Kharrazi, who arrived in Khartoum from Tunis, has already met with Sudan's president and minister of foreign affairs and is expected to meet the Sudanese parliament speaker on Saturday."


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