Iran General NewsAhmadinejad to hold Azerbaijan talks ahead of Caspian summit

Ahmadinejad to hold Azerbaijan talks ahead of Caspian summit

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AFP: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to hold talks in Azerbaijan on Wednesday ahead of a summit of Caspian Sea littoral states in the capital Baku, the foreign ministry said.

TEHRAN, November 16, 2010 (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to hold talks in Azerbaijan on Wednesday ahead of a summit of Caspian Sea littoral states in the capital Baku, the foreign ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast did not elaborate on the topics which Ahmadinejad would discuss with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

But he said that a “security agreement, environmental issues and fisheries” in the Caspian Sea would be on the agenda of Thursday’s summit of the five littoral nations — Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan as well as Azerbaijan and Iran.

“Also during the summit, the president will hold bilateral talks with other Caspian Sea heads of state,” Mehmanparast told a briefing on Tuesday.

The summit will mark Ahmadinejad’s first encounter with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev since relations between Tehran and Moscow nosedived over Russia’s refusal to deliver advanced S-300 air-defence missiles following the adoption of the latest package of UN sanctions on June 9.

Top Iranian officials, including Ahmadinejad, have lashed out at Russia for cancelling the deal. The president charged in early November that Russia had “sold out” to Iran’s arch-foe, the United States.

Russia had come under strong US and Israeli pressure not to go through with the deal for the S-300s, which were seen as potentially complicating any resort to military action over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Russia, which had retained close relations with Iran and built its first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr, said it would reimburse Tehran for its downpayments on the deal.

The contract was estimated to be worth a total of 800 million dollars (572 million euros).

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