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    Belarusian leader Lukashenko wants to boost trade with Iran

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    The president of Belarus said Friday the former Soviet republic was seeking to expand trade ties with Iran, while Tehran said the two countries had much in common in many areas.

    MINSK, April 21 (RIA Novosti) - The president of Belarus said Friday the former Soviet republic was seeking to expand trade ties with Iran, while Tehran said the two countries had much in common in many areas.

    "Trade between Belarus and Iran is much lower than it could be," Alexander Lukashenko told an Iranian minister. "It is absolutely inadmissible to leave it at the current level."

    The presidential press service said trade between the two countries in the first two months of 2006 had slipped by 8% year-on-year to about $5 billion, primarily due to a fall in Belarus' exports.

    Iran's Commerce Minister Masud Mir-Kazemi said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was also seeking to develop bilateral ties, as stated in his letter to the Belarusian leader.

    "We have common approaches not only in the political sphere, but also in the economic and in scientific-technical areas," he said, citing the letter.

    Lukashenko said that Minsk would definitely fulfill all its earlier commitments to Tehran, and asked Mir-Kazemi to deliver this message to Ahmadinejad.

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