Planning for Foreign Minister's trips to other Central Asian countries and Caucasus including Tajikistan is on the Foreign Ministry agenda and will be carried out in due time, Bahram Qasemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said on April 19.
“The official policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to develop and foster the relations with all neighbors and the countries in the region particularly the neighboring countries in north,” said Qasemi in an answer to IRNA’s reporter's question on the reason behind Foreign Minister’s not taking trips to other countries in Central Asia.
“Iranian officials have taken several trips to the countries in Central Asia and Caucasus but as you are informed, the Foreign Minister's busy schedule makes it impossible for him to take trips to all countries in that region,” he also added.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif toured Turkmenistan, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan this week; certain foreign media have claimed that he had been supposed to visit Tajikistan but didn’t.
Iran’s Press TV reports Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has toured Central Asia and the Caucasus this week to boost Iran’s ties with three major countries in the region, especially in the field of economy.
The three-day tour reportedly spanned Turkmenistan, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan. A 20-member delegation of businessmen and company representatives accompanied Zarif who cited transit cooperation among the objectives of the visit.
While in Ashgabat, the Iranian foreign minister held talks with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov to discuss regional developments as well as ways of expanding bilateral ties, IRNA news agency reported.
The International North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) was formalized among India, Iran and Russia in 2000 to link the Subcontinent and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe.
Besides Iran, India and Russia, countries that are on board to integrate into the transit network include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey, Tajikistan, Oman, Syria and Bulgaria.
The NSTC opens a window for alignment with Silk Road Economic Belt pushed by China to establish new trade and transport links with Central Asia and Europe.
While in Georgia, Javad Zarif and his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Janelidze reportedly discussed many aspects of cooperation, including trade, economics, tourism and education.
According to Georgia Today, the Ministers also discussed the April 22-23 visit of Georgian Prime Minister to Tehran, where several intergovernmental agreements will be signed.
Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Kyrgyzstan on April 19 on the last leg of his tour of Central Asian and Eurasian countries.