Iranian minister visits Senegal after weapons row

January 19, 2011 12:00 am

, DAKAR, Jan 19 – Iran\’s foreign minister arrived in Senegal Tuesday, officials said, amid a diplomatic storm between the one-time allies over a huge cache of weapons from Iran that was intercepted in Nigeria.

Acting Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was due to meet Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade during the two-day trip, an official told AFP.

The Iranian ISNA news agency said Monday that the talks would focus on bilateral and international relations.

Senegal and Iran enjoyed strong diplomatic ties until 13 containers loaded with arms and munitions were found in October aboard a ship in Nigeria.

Senegal recalled its ambassador to Tehran mid-December after Iran failed to provide a "satisfactory" explanation for the weapons, which were sent from Iran and destined for Gambia.

Because of its controversial nuclear programme, Iran is forbidden from selling arms, under United Nations sanctions.

Salehi took over as Iran\’s caretaker foreign minister after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fired his predecessor Manouchehr Mottaki on December 13 as he was on an official visit to Senegal.


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