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King Abdullah Opens Talks with Iranian President
Amman, 2 September 2003

His Majesty King Abdullah and Iranian President Muhammad Khatami affirmed on Tuesday their desire to open a new chapter of bilateral relations that serve interests of the Jordanian and Iranian people and help promote Iran's relations with the Arab countries.

During his talks with President Khatami in Tehran on Wednesday, King Abdullah voiced hope that his current visit to Tehran would open broader horizons for cooperation between the two countries particularly in economic domains.

The two leaders discussed latest developments in the Palestinian areas where King Abdullah noted Jordan's efforts geared to reach just and last peace that ends Israeli occupation and leads to an independent Palestinian state.

Referring to the situation in Iraq, the two leaders considered the formation of the Iraqi interim governing council a step towards helping the Iraqis run their own affairs. To that end, King Abdullah and President Khatami urged countries in the region to assist the Iraqi people to surmount the grave situation and the human suffering they are passing through.

King Abdullah, who is currently on a two-day official visit to Tehran, the first since assuming power, extended an invitation to President Khatami to visit Jordan.

For his part, Iranian President described King Abdullah's visit "a significant turning point in relations between the two the countries." He hoped the King's visit would yield positive result and bring about fruitful agreements between the two countries.

"Jordan has a long history of struggle and suffering in defending the Palestinian cause," President Khatami said.

He affirmed that despite the dangerous problems and challenges that faced the region over the years, Jordan has accomplished remarkable progress that is acknowledged by all.

"There is an urgent need now for rapprochement between Arab and Islamic countries to work together to realize just and lasting peace in the region and achieve further progress and prosperity to their peoples," President Khatami said during the talks attended by the delegation accompanying King Abdullah and senior Iranian officials.

"Our rapprochement with Jordan will not be at the expense of any other party, it is just for boosting relations between us," President Khatami said. He expressed his country's willingness to invest in Jordan mainly in petrochemical projects and in the water sector.

In a related development, King Abdullah received at his residence in Tehran Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi. Talks during the meeting focused on bilateral relations and the situation in Iraq.

"Iran is waiting for the moment to see the Iraqis ruling themselves when the power is moved to the Iraqi people," said Kharazi, who expressed his worry about the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. King Abdullah also received Iranian Minister of Security Ali Yunis.

Later on the day, President Khatami held a dinner banquet in honuor of His Majesty King Abdullah and the accompanying delegation.