Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says his current visit to West Africa will open a new chapter in cooperation between the Islamic Republic and the African nations. He made the remarks during a meeting with Guinea Prime Minister Mamady Youla in the capital Conakry where he visited Wednesday as part of a four-nation tour along with a trade delegation. Zarif described relations between Tehran and Conakry as “excellent,” saying the visit will help “open a new chapter in the two countries’ ties, particularly in the fields of economy and trade.” Iran and Guinea enjoy “good and extensive” economic cooperation in tandem with bilateral political ties, he said.
Youla, for his part, said his country seeks enhanced relations with the Islamic Republic in all areas. Zarif also met with Guinea President Alpha Conde and Foreign Minister Makale Traore. Zarif, in Guinea on the third leg of the Africa tour after visiting Nigeria and Ghana, left Conakry for Mali on Thursday. The Iranian foreign minister has already paid two official visits to Africa. He visited Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and Tanzania in February 2015. Zarif also visited North African countries of Tunisia and Algeria in August 2015.
Iran has a significant presence in agricultural and economic projects in some African countries and has been a major contributor to humanitarian missions in the continent. The country is willing to engage deeper both politically and economically in Africa and bolster its footprints in the continent’s development following the removal of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.