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UPDATED: 11:24, March 04, 2007
Iran asks for observer status in south Asian group SAARC
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Iran has formally requested for an observer status in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the official IRNA news agency reported on Saturday.

A formal letter in this regard has been handed over this week to SAARC Secretary-General Lyonpo Chenkyab Dorji by Rasool Islami, Director-General for West Asia Affairs of Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In their meeting in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, Islami noted that Tehran's membership in the SAARC organization will be beneficial for both sides because of Iran's geographical position and economic strength.

The SAARC secretary-general, while expressing his happiness over the close relations of SAARC countries with Iran, said that Iran's inclusion in the association would be beneficial for both sides.

Dorji said that Iran's request for observer status would be taken up for discussion during the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs of SAARC member countries in early April this year in New Delhi.

Founded in 1985, the SAARC includes Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and the European Union are observers of the organization.

Source: Xinhua

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