Diplomatic Iranian Oil Minister calls on President

Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari Wednesday reiterated the commitment of the government to further bolster Pak Iran bilateral trade by vigorously pursue mega projects in all areas particularly energy, trade and economic fields.

President stated this during his meeting with Iranian delegation headed by Mr. Rostam Ghasemi, Iranian Oil Minister, held at AiwaneSadr.

Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that during the meeting President Asif Ali highlighted Pakistan’s energy needs and the steps taken to to meet them.

The President also called for greater connectivity between the two countries and stressed the need to move forward on “ECO Container Train” project.

He said that regular operation of ECO Train would lend impetus to cargo and transit facilities between the two countries. The President said that Pakistan will welcome technical and financial support of Iran for upgrading of the QuettaTaftan Railway track.

The President also called for improved visa facilitation, opening of the new border posts and removing tariff and nontariff barriers for stepping up trade and commerce. He also called for early finalization of agreement to export wheat to Iran.

President Zardari urged businessmen of the two countries for optimum utilization of the trade and investment potential existing between the two countries.

Expressing his deepest concern over sectarian killing and killing of innocent zaireen in the attacks by terrorists the President said that Pakistan treats all its citizens equally and consider such attacks on the state and added that Government of Pakistan was fully determined to bring perpetrators of these crimes to justice.

He said that Pakistan was examining the feasibility of starting special direct flights from Quetta and Gilgit to Meshed

The President expressed satisfaction over the recent signing of Security Cooperation Agreement between Pakistan and Iran and said the enhanced cooperation in the area of border security will help in countering terrorism, crossborder crimes and drugs trade.

The President while terming terrorism and the mindset behind it as common enemy of Pakistan and Iran stressed the need to defeat this mindset.

Issues in regional situation also came under discussion. On situation in Afghanistan, President Zardari reiterated Pakistan’s support to Afghanled, and Afghanowned peace process in Afghanistan.

The President called for employing the collective strengths of Muslims and the need to shun violence in meeting the emerging challenges in the region. We have to take control of our own affairs and find our own solutions to the problems, he added.

From Iran side, those who attended the meeting included, besides Mr. Rostam Ghasemi, Ambassador Mr. Alireza Haghighian and a number of senior diplomats and officials accompanying the Iranian Minister.

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