VISIT OF INDONESIAN PRESIDENT MARKS THE "LOOK EAST" POLICY
PARIS 15TH June (IPS)
Visiting Indonesian President Abdurrahman Vahid expressed satisfaction Thursday at his talks with his Iranian counterpart Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami of Iran and hoped that the two Muslim nations could expand their relations in all fields.
Mr. Vahid arrived in Tehran at the beginning of a Middle East tour that would take him to Cairo and Amman, leading a rather small economic and diplomatic delegation.
Speaking to reporters after their meeting behind closed doors, Mr. Vahid said added Iran and Indonesia have common goals, and can co-operate in the economy, culture and in social areas.
He expressed hope that a joint economic commission of the two countries would be able to take firm strides for further developing trade relations and economic co-operation between the two countries especially in the area of oil and gas.
Iran and Indonesia are both members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Organisation of Islamic Conference, which is now chaired by Iran.
Reporting on the talks, the official Iranian news agency IRNA said President Khatami told the Indonesian President that because of their membership in ASEAN and also considering Iran's membership in ECO, the two countries can establish closer co-operation in every area.
The two presidents noted that both countries insist that they should have their due situation internationally in the present-day world.
The Indonesian President told reporters that his talks with President Khatami touched on a dozen of areas on all of which, he said, they had identical feelings and judgements.
Iranian observers said the visit by the Indonesian president, that would be followed by the visit of President Khatami to China, starting 22 of June, could mark the beginning of an Iranian "look East" policy.
After Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i and Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who both visited China when they were president, Mr. Khatami becomes the third Iranian Head of State to go to Peking officially.
After the victory of the Islamic revolution in 1979, Iran's policy was limited to anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-pro-peace Palestinians propaganda, military and financial support for the Lebanese Hezbollah and playing in the Syrian tune, a policy that has led to the Iranian regime's international isolation and economically detrimental to Iranian national interests.
In this regard, Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation in term of population, and Malaysia, another Muslim-dominated nation of the South East Asia could both be good examples for the Islamic Republic that until now has placed religious ideology above national interests. ENDS IRAN INDONESIA 15600
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