Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has voiced concern over the presence of terror groups in Mali, saying Tehran is ready for cooperation with the violence-hit state in its battle against terrorism and extremism.

In a Thursday meeting with Mali’s Prime Minister Modibo Keita in Bamako, Zarif described the West African country as “the cradle of moderate and tolerant Islam,” saying Iran regrets the presence of extremist groups there.

Zarif further said extremism is an “ugly phenomenon” which is also plaguing the Middle East region besides Africa, stressing that “Iran is prepared to cooperate with Mali in the area of fighting terrorism and extremism.”

He further highlighted cultural commonalities between Iranian and Malian nations, saying Tehran attaches significance to bilateral relations with Bamako.

Iran is ready to bolster economic relations with Mali in various spheres, including agriculture, health, education and energy, the top Iranian diplomat added.

The Malian prime minister, in turn, called for closer Tehran-Bamako relations, saying the Islamic Republic serves as a good role model for all developing nations.

Iran acted with vigilance and courage in the face of obstacles, and managed to protect its national interests, the premier added.

The Islamic Republic’s power stems from its rich culture and civilization, said Keita, adding that the two countries should enhance their interactions, particularly in the area of commerce.

On the fourth leg of his West African tour, Zarif arrived in Mali earlier in the day for talks with the country’s senior officials after his visits to Nigeria, Ghana and Guinea.

During his trip to Mali, Zarif also sat down for talks with Issaka Sidibé, the president of the country’s National Assembly.

SS

Jul 28, 2016 19:56 UTC
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