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Mon 4 Feb 2008 12:08 PM

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Iran foreign minister in Oman for talks

Mottaki to meet with counterpart Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah on regional and international issues.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki arrived in Muscat on Sunday, Oman's official ONA news agency reported.

It said he would have talks with the Omani minister responsible for foreign affairs, Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, on regional and international developments. The duration of Mottaki's visit was not specified.

The sultanate of Oman, an ally of the US, also has good relations with Iran.

Both Oman and Iran are co-guardians of the strategic Strait of Hormuz entrance to the oil-rich Gulf. They have consistently maintained good relations, and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Muscat last May.

Oman is anxious to avoid an increase in tension in the Gulf over Tehran's controversial programme of uranium enrichment which has resulted in a tense standoff with the West.

US President George W. Bush claims that Iran is racing to develop nuclear weapons, something that Tehran, which has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, denies. Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

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