FM Zarif, Finnish president meet in Helsinki

MNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto met in Helsinki on Monday to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Zarif arrived in Helsinki early today to hold high-level talks with the European country’s senior officials on a host of bilateral as well as international issues.

The top diplomat’s visit comes as the first of his three-nation tour, as he will depart Finland for Norway and Sweden afterwards to “discuss ways to ease tensions in the West Asia region.”

Upon arrival in Helsinki, Zarif referred to an initiative for dialogue in the Persian Gulf set forth in the past by Finland, saying it is almost similar to the plan Iran has earlier raised.

“A few years ago I came here, Helsinki, and raised the initiative of a regional dialogue forum in the Persian Gulf, and the Finnish have always been interested in these issues,” he noted.

Zarif raised the idea of a Regional Dialogue Forum for the first time in an op-ed article in The New York Times on April 20, 2015, where he argued that “the establishment of a collective forum for dialogue in the Persian Gulf region, to facilitate engagement, is long overdue.”

He has repeated the calls for the formation of the forum in an attempt to restore peace and stability to the region.