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Armenia: President Signs Memo Of Understanding With Iran

Yerevan, 30 December 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Our correspondent in Yerevan reports that Iranian Vice President Hassan Habibi and Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossian on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding between the two countries. The signing ceremony took place in the presidential palace in the Armenian capital.

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Ter-Petrossian called Habibi's visit a turning point in relations between the two nations. He said Iran is a stabilizing factor in the region and praised Tehran for its balanced role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He also said Prime Minister Armen Sarkissian will visit Iran early next year.

In addition to the memorandum of understanding, the leaders also signed several documents covering economic cooperation, trade, customs, transportation and communications. Habibi said one of the joint agreements signed focuses on finding financing for an Iran-Armenia gas pipeline project.

Habibi -- who addressed the Armenian Parliament on Thursday -- is the highest-ranking Iranian official to visit Armenia since it gained independence five years ago.