Pakistan, Iran reiterate resolve to further strengthen bilateral relations

Pakistan, Iran, vow to strengthen economic diplomacy bilaterally for unlocking the true potential

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Minister conveyed greetings to President Raisi on behalf of Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and reiterated the official invitation to him to visit Pakistan at his convenience.

The Foreign Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s keen desire to strengthen bilateral relations, which are rooted deep in shared history and commonalities of faith, culture and heritage. He highlighted the importance of regular exchanges to advance economic and energy cooperation, regional connectivity, operationalization of barter trade and border sustenance marketplaces, and facilitation of Zaireen visiting Iran for pilgrimage.

The Foreign Minister also took up the issue of the release/transfer of Pakistani prisoners detained in Iranian prisons.

President Raisi welcomed the Foreign Minister and underscored that the two nations were bound by close historic linkages and strong fraternal ties. He noted that Iran attached great importance to its economic and trade relations with Pakistan, which had considerable potential for further growth.

Earlier during the day, the Foreign Minister held tête-à-tête with his Iranian counterpart followed by delegation-level talks. Foreign Minister Dr. Amir Abdollahian also hosted a working luncheon in honour of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his delegation. A joint press stakeout was also held by the two Foreign Ministers.

During the discussions, the two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including expansion of economic relations and trade volume, additional electricity import from Iran for Makran Division in Balochistan, and effective border coordination to address the security issues, smuggling, drug trafficking and transnational crimes.

The Foreign Minister also underscored the need to hold the next session of Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in August 2022.

Both sides also exchanged views on regional security situation, with particular focus on developments in Afghanistan and the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari appreciated the Iranian leadership’s steadfast support for the just cause of Kashmiri Muslims.

The Foreign Minister’s visit to Iran is part of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries. The last meeting between the two Foreign Ministers was held on the sidelines of World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos on 26 May 2022.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Tuesday, expressing the desire to expand bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran, vowed to strengthen economic diplomacy bilaterally for unlocking the true potential.

The foreign minister, in an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) before his official visit to Tehran, said that “facilitating trade and exploiting the true potentials of Iran and Pakistan was important for us.”

Bilawal Bhutto, along with a political and economic delegation, left for Iran on Tuesday morning for a two-day visit. Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini was also present on the occasion.

He said people of the two countries had a long historic relationship, sharing religious, cultural, and other bonds, adding that “his country, his party, and his family, have a longstanding relationship with the people of Iran and I look forward to improving and enhancing the relationship between the two countries.”

“I am looking forward to my first bilateral visit to Iran,” he added.

He added Pakistan wanted to enhance its economic activity with all countries and was focusing on economic diplomacy. There has been a lot of cooperation in the past with Iran and Pakistan looked forward to enhancing this cooperation, he added.

“We want to enhance progress on border markets and go a long way to facilitate commercial activity on both ends and I am looking forward to having meaningful conversations with my counterparts to unlock the true potential of the economic relationship,” he noted.

The foreign minister said despite the connectivity, shared borders, cultures, and history, there was a lot more potential for both sides to enhance tourism.

“I really hope that we will be able to discuss these issues, enhance the modes and means of transport between the two countries, and encourage not only obviously religious and spiritual tourism between the two countries but also economic tourism and people-to-people activities.”

Regarding Afghanistan, he said the situation in Afghanistan was on everyone’s mind, particularly those in the region or in the neighborhood who were directly impacted by the developments in Afghanistan.

“I am sure I would have deep meaningful conversations on this topic as well,” the foreign minister said.

He said during his two-day stay in Iran, he would hold a detailed exchange of views with his Iranian counterpart on all areas of mutual interest.

He will also call on the Iranian president and meet other dignitaries. He will also visit Mashhad on Wednesday.

Last month, the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Iran had discussed bilateral trade, border markets, and the situation in Afghanistan, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

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