Iran, Pakistan must cooperate to ensure border security, fight terrorism: Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran and Pakistan must bolster cooperation to ensure security in borders and fight terrorists.
“Iran and Pakistan as two friendly and neighboring countries with common borders are necessary to have strong cooperation on [ways to] ensure the two countries’ borders and prevent operations by terrorists,” Zarif said in a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif in Islamabad on Monday.
The Pakistani foreign minister, for his part, stressed the importance of improving Tehran-Islamabad political and economic cooperation and said his country seeks to enhance stability in borders.
Zarif and Asif also discussed peace process in Afghanistan, cooperation in banking and energy sectors, Iran’s supply of electricity to Pakistan, cooperation between Iranian and Pakistani ports of Chabahar and Gwadar and the development of border markets.
The top Iranian and Pakistani diplomats also exchanged views about multilateral cooperation to help boost stability and peace in the region and fight terrorist and extremist groups and smugglers.
Zarif arrived in Islamabad Sunday night at the head of a 30-member high-ranking politico-economic delegation for a three-day visit.
Upon his arrival, the Iranian foreign minister said Iran pursues “free bilateral trade” with the neighboring South Asian country.
Zarif added that the Islamic Republic also seeks to promote its banking relations with Pakistan and boost preferred tariffs levied on traded goods.
Iran FM, Pakistan PM discuss peace pipeline
In a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the top Iranian diplomat called for the expansion of relations in all fields.
Zarif and Abbasi discussed the construction of a much-delayed pipeline to pump Iran’s natural gas to Pakistan and agreed that the two countries’ oil ministries would hold technical talks in this regard.
The Iran plan, dubbed the “peace pipeline”, was initially designed to pass through Pakistan into India but New Delhi quit the project in 2009.
The $7 billion project was conceived in the 1990s to connect Iran’s giant South Pars gas field to the subcontinent. The project does not have to cross Afghanistan for an extra 700 km in areas driven by Taliban and Daesh militants, apart from being cheaper.
Iran FM, Pakistan interior minister urge enhanced border security
In another meeting, Zarif and Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal exchanged views about ways to increase security in border areas and develop mutual relations.
They also stressed the importance of increasing consular cooperation.
Iran and Pakistan seek to increase bilateral trade volume to almost five billion dollars per year.
At the end of his last visit to Islamabad in May, the Iranian foreign minister said Tehran and Islamabad have agreed to increase cooperation to boost security at the two countries’ border areas.
Zarif said he had held “good” talks with senior Pakistani officials, adding that the two sides had agreed to set up a joint security committee in the near future.