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|Thursday, January 11, 2001, updated at 17:17(GMT+8)|
Iran, Nigeria Set to Expand TiesIran and Nigeria have agreed to further expand relations in political and economic fields, the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.
"Our first priority in foreign policy is expanding our relations with those countries that share interests and goals with Iran, and Nigeria is one of those countries," Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said during talks with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo late Wednesday.
Obasanjo's visit to Iran marked the beginning of a new chapter in bilateral relations, IRNA quoted Khatami as saying.
He expressed Iran's readiness to establish a joint commission with Nigeria to expand bilateral ties in all possible fields.
Obasanjo's visit can also help boost cooperation between Iran and Nigeria at international scenes, including in major international organizations such as the Group of 77 (G-77) and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Khatami added.
"The shared culture, history and religion and common interests of the two countries serve as a good foundation and prepare an appropriate ground for the expansion of cooperation," said Obasanjo, who arrived here on Tuesday for a three-day visit.
He stressed the two countries' political will to strengthen ties in all fields, including the commercial, agricultural, defense, energy, mining, scientific and cultural fields.
Both Iran and Nigeria are major OPEC members. In their talks, Khatami and Obasanjo stressed that oil prices should be kept "at a reasonable level" in world markets, which they said will be good for the interests of both oil producers and consumers.
This was Obasanjo's first visit to a Middle East country since he took power in Africa's most populous country in May 1999.
Nigeria is holding the chairmanship of the 133-member G-77, which will be taken over by Iran later this year.
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