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Iran, Turkey discuss ME, Africa issues

Amid violent anti-government demonstrations in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, foreign ministers of Iran and Turkey exchanged views on the latest ongoing developments.

In a telephone conversation on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu discussed developments in the Middle East and North Africa, IRNA reported.

Many Arab and African countries, including Egypt and Tunisia, have been the scene of bloody anti-government protests over the past month.

Millions of Egyptians along with opposition groups have taken to the streets across the crisis-hit country for two weeks demanding the immediate ouster of embattled President Hosni Mubarak.

More than 300 people have been killed and thousands more injured since the start of the protests in troubled Egypt on January 25, which was inspired by Tunisia’s revolution.

In Tunisia, at least 219 people have been killed and some 510 injured during the revolution that led to the overthrow of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s 23-year rule, according to the United Nations.

On January 14, Ben Ali fled the North African country to the Saudi port city of Jeddah.

Ben Ali’s regime has been accused of widespread corruption as his relatives controlled much of the business sector in the country. His wife is also accused of using government airplanes for personal purposes, such as visiting European fashion capitals.

Similar anti-government protests, inspired by the wave of uprisings in the Arab world, were also staged in Algeria, Jordan, Yemen and the Ivory Coast.

In their conversation, Salehi and Davutoglu praised the “successful” 22nd meeting of the Iran-Turkey Joint Economic Cooperation Commission and explored avenues to bolster trade and economic cooperation.

The top Iranian diplomat stressed the importance of remaining vigilant and holding consultations to counter possible threats of Israel, saying the Israeli regime sees ongoing developments in the region within its own interests.

The talks between the Iranian and Turkish foreign ministers were held ahead of Salehi’s departure for Algeria.

The Iranian minister arrived in the Algerian capital city of Algiers on Tuesday for an official day-long visit, which is taking place within the framework of constant consultations between Iran and Algeria.

Salehi is scheduled to hold talks with senior Algerian officials, including Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci, on ways to improve mutual relations in all political, economic and cultural fields.

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