The Herald (Harare)

17 May 2010

Zimbabwe: President Arrives in Iran

President Mugabe arrived here early yesterday to attend the 14th G15 summit that starts today, with Zimbabwe reaffirming its support for Iran's nuclear energy programme.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defe-nce Forces was received at the Mehrabad International Airport by senior Iranian government officials, Harare's Ambassador to Iran Mr Nicholas Kitikiti and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

Minister Mumbengegwi arrived here earlier for pre-summit meetings with his counterparts from other member countries.

President Mugabe is being accompanied by First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Didymus Mutasa and will join seven other African, Asian and South American leaders at the one-day summit.

Minister Mumbengegwi on Saturday said, "All countries have the right to gain access to peaceful nuclear energy within the international regulations.

"Those who criticised Iran for having access to peaceful nuclear energy, not only have nuclear energy, but also nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction."

His Senegalese counterpart, Mr Madicke Niang, added: "Senegal has always believed that all the countries should have access to peaceful nuclear energy and Iran -- as a member of the international community -- has this right as well.

"Iran has declared that it needs nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and no one has the right to deprive Iran of its right."

The summit will explore new areas of economic co-operation among G15 members.

Syrian President Mr Bashar-al-Assad and Turkish Prime Minister Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose countries are not G15 members, will be special guests to the conference.

President Mugabe and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil were the first to arrive in the Iranian capital while presidents Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Algeria), Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Mahinda Rajapaksa (Sri Lanka) and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani were scheduled to arrive later yesterday.

The G15 is a group of 18 African, Asian and Latin American developing countries.

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