President Serzh Sarkisian and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discussed the implementation of Armenian-Iranian energy projects late on Tuesday in a phone conversation that reportedly focused on economic ties between their nations.
Official sources in Yerevan and Tehran said Wednesday that the two leaders spoke about the results of the latest meeting of an Armenian-Iranian inter-governmental commission on economic cooperation held in Yerevan last week.
According to Sarkisian’s press office, they also welcomed the impending start of the construction of a big hydroelectric plant on the Armenian-Iranian border. The office said the $330 million project will be officially launched “in the coming days.”
A fresh agreement on the plant’s repeatedly delayed construction was the main result of the commission meeting chaired by the Armenian and Iranian energy ministers.
A statement issued by Ahmadinejad’s office quoted the Iranian leader as saying that the meeting was a success. It demonstrated that Iran and Armenia are determined to strengthen their “ancient and friendly” relations, he was reported to tell Sarkisian.
Ahmadinejad and Sarkisian pledged to speed up the launch of this and other joint energy projects when they met in Yerevan late last year. Those include the construction of a pipeline to ship Iranian fuel to Armenia and a third power transmission line connecting the two neighboring countries.
Opening the commission meeting in the Armenian capital last Wednesday, Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou complained about “obstacles” hampering the projects’ implementation. Namjou proposed that two sides set up a joint task force that would quickly deal with those hurdles.