Leaders of Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan discuss closer ties
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Leaders of Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan discuss closer ties

At first trilateral economic summit, presidents Putin, Rouhani and Aliyev call for greater international efforts against ‘terror’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, center, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo during their meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, August 8, 2016. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, center, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo during their meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, August 8, 2016. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool)

The leaders of Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan signed a joint deceleration on Monday urging stronger global action against “terrorism” and organized crime.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev met in Baku, Azerbaijan, for a trilateral summit officially aimed at developing economic cooperation.

It was the first time the three nations held such a meeting, and the leaders said the new format should help improve ties.

Putin said the three nations needed to cooperate more closely to tackle threats posed by the Islamic State group and other extremists as well as other challenges. Rouhani offered to host the next summit in Tehran.

The Iran-based Mehr News Agency reported that the presidents pledged to fight against “terrorism, transnational organized crime, arms smuggling and drug trafficking in the region.”

Prior to the trilateral talks, Putin met separately with both Aliyev and Rouhani, hailing his nation’s “multifaceted” cooperation with Iran and burgeoning economic ties with Azerbaijan.

The talks touched on a prospective railway link between Iran and Azerbaijan that is expected to become part of a transport corridor running from India all the way to St. Petersburg in Russia, and providing a faster and cheaper alternative to existing sea routes.

“The north-south transport corridor would be highly efficient,” Aliyev said during the talks. He added that construction is already underway to link Azerbaijani and Iranian railways.

“The Baku summit prepares the ground for cementing regional ties, resulting in regional stability and security,” Rouhani said, according to the Iranian president’s website.

He also highlighted Iran’s strengthening bond with Russia.

“Tehran welcomes development of ties with Moscow,” he said. “The two countries’ relations have been developing in recent months.”

Rouhani also commented on the agreement signed last year between Iran and world powers that curbed his country’s renegade nuclear program in return for relief from tough economic sanctions.

“The role of Russia in the success of these negotiations and precise and full implementation of commitments of all parties in [the deal] has been constructive and positive,” he said.

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