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Tuesday, June 19, 2001, updated at 20:30(GMT+8)

Iran, Croatia Pledge to Expand Cooperation

Iran and Croatia pledged on Tuesday to enhance their relations and increase cooperation in all fields.

During a meeting with his Croatian counterpart Stjepan Mesic, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami hailed the bilateral ties as " good," Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.

Khatami expressed hope that the two sides would further promote cooperation in the economic, industrial and cultural fields.

Many potentials for better cooperation between the two countries still remain untapped, he said.

He described as important the role of Croatia in realizing and maintaining peace and security in the Balkans and expressed Iran's wishes for tranquility and progress in the region.

Mesic, who arrived here late Monday for a three-day official visit, also described the Zagreb-Tehran relations as "very good," saying that no blocks exist in the way of expanding the bilateral relations.

"We consider the Islamic Republic of Iran as one of our closest friends in the world and believe that this visit will help promote the two countries' cooperation in all fields," said Mesic.

He noted that Croatia is looking forward to improving ties with other countries beyond Europe, with Islamic states being a priority.

Mesic's visit is the first by a European head of state to Iran after Khatami's re-election on June 8. During his stay, he will also meet with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other Iranian leaders on issues of common interests.

The Croatian leader is accompanied by some 20 businessmen to discuss with the Iranian side about cooperation in shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals and oil areas.

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Iran and Croatia pledged on Tuesday to enhance their relations and increase cooperation in all fields.

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