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|Tuesday, July 11, 2000, updated at 09:17(GMT+8)|
Germany and Iran Pledge to Renew Traditional TiesGerman Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Iranian President Mohammed Chatami on Monday pledge to rejuvenate the traditional close economic cooperation between the two countries.
Speaking to reporters after their meeting in the Chancellor's office, Schroeder said that "we want to again connect the traditionally close ties between the two countries".
The economic relations should be dynamically built up and for this purpose, the German side will increase export guarantee for Iran from the present level of 200 million Deutsche Mark to one billion, he said.
Chatami was quoted by DPA, the German news agency, as saying that his visit to Germany is a sign that peoples of the two countries want to push forward the bilateral cooperation, On the issue of human rights where Iran and Germany obviously do not see with each other, Chatami said that relations of two countries should be based on common grounds and differences be resolved through dialogue.
The Iranian president arrived on Monday as the highest Iranian official to visit Germany in more than three decades.
Chatami was greeted at the airport by German President Johnannes Rau. In a subsequent meeting, Rau expressed the hope for a new beginning in the bilateral relations and pointed out to their long tradition, the presidential office said.
The German-Iranian relations were marred in the 1990s by a German court's charge of terrorism against the Iranian government and the arrest of German businessman Kaufmann Hofer in Tehran. The release of Hofer in January this year and the visit by German Foreign Minister Joschhka Fischer to Iran in May paved the way for bettering bilateral relations.
According to German press reports, the bilateral trade volume amounted to 9 billion DM in 1992, but fell to 3.1 billion last year, the lowest level in two decades. The German businessman have strongly urged the government to improve ties with Iran, because compared with other countries such as France and Italy, they are put at disadvantage in trade with Iran by strained political relations.
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