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Armenia urges Iran to accelerate laying of gas pipeline

Armenian President Robert Kocharian on Tuesday called on Iran to expedite...

Yerevan, July 18. Armenian President Robert Kocharian on Tuesday called on Iran to expedite the laying of a gas pipeline which would transfer Iranian gas to Armenia, IRNA reports. "The gas pipeline should come on stream as soon as possible and Tehran should take more serious steps in this regard," Kocharian told the Iranian head of Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rouhani who is here on a regional tour. The 140-kilometer (48-mile) pipeline should cost some 138 million dollars and should be completed within months. Armenia will begin the construction by building a section of the pipeline between its southern towns of Megri and Kadzharan, a project worth some 26 million dollars.

Iran has the world's second largest reserves of natural gas after Russia.

Kocharian said Tehran and Yeravan should make more joint ventures in a bid to broaden their economic relations. "Iran plays an important role in the world energy market and it had better be present in the regional energy market," he said. As for the security issues, he said, "Yerevan will never forget the ceaseless efforts made by Iran in establishment of a durable peace and security in the region." "Armenia will rebuff any plan which may endanger Iran's national security," he said.

For his part, Rouhani said that the isolation of Armenia would estabilize the Caucasian region. "Iran supports contribution of all Caucasian states in establishment of a durable peace and stability." "Iran and Caucasia enjoy common interests and Iran is seeking to establish friendly ties with all Caucasian states," he said. Touching on the regional crises, he said that Iran is ready to help put an end to the Karabakh crisis.

Rouhani dismissed presence of aliens as a solution to the Karabakh crisis, noting, "only under cooperation of all regional countries can the crisis be solved." The Iranian official also said that Kocharian's upcoming visit to Tehran would be a turning point in bilateral relations between the two countries.