Gulf & Middle East
North Korea's debt to Iran obstacle for cooperation: Mottaki
May 11, 2007 - 6:00:19 PM

Tehran, May 11 - Tehran considers North Korean debt to Iran as an obstacle to the comprehensive development of relations between the two countries, the Iranian foreign minister said Friday.

'The government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is interested in expanding ties with North Korea in the political, economic and cultural spheres, but it is necessary to get rid of some obstacles to form a base for cooperation in new sectors,' Manouchehr Mottaki said at a meeting with North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hyong-jun.

He said: 'One such obstacle is North Korea's debt to Iran. Our countries can find the formula needed to resolve this issue.'

On Thursday Kim Hyong-jun held a meeting in Tehran with Iranian First Vice President Parviz Davoodi, who told the North Korean official that Iran will assist North Korea economically and help it otherwise to 'stand up to arrogant global powers.'

'Tehran does not see any obstacles in developing ties with Pyongyang and is ready to offer economic, infrastructure, and technological achievements for North Korea's progress and prosperity,' Davoodi said.

He said the two countries were very close on many international issues, including 'standing up to arrogant global powers.'

'The era of arrogance and a history of oppressing other nations is history. Victory belongs to freedom-loving and independent nations,' he said.

The US has included Iran and North Korea in President George W. Bush's 'axis of evil' as Pyongyang tested a nuclear device in October 2006, while Tehran has consistently defied international calls for the suspension of uranium enrichment, which would bring it closer to acquiring a nuclear weapon.

In response, the US plans to deploy missile defences against a perceived nuclear attack from the two 'rogue states.'

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