- Possibility of sea trade through Gwadar Port, Iran’s Chahbahar Port also explored
- Rouhani says Pakistan and Iran consider each other’s security as their own security
Pakistan and Iran on Friday agreed to further bolster their bilateral relations in diverse areas of trade, economy and energy, besides deciding to open two additional crossing points along their border to encourage and facilitate trade and people-to-people contacts.
“Our trade and economic ties suffered due to sanctions. (But now) we have agreed to strengthen our bilateral ties in diverse areas of trade, economy and energy,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said while addressing a joint press stakeout along with Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani at the PM’s House.
Earlier, the two leaders held a one-on-one meeting and delegation-level talks during which wide range of discussions on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest took place. After the talks, the two witnessed the signing of six memoranda of understanding (MoUs), including the one described as “Five-Year Strategic Trade Cooperation Plan”.
Prime Minister Sharif, in his address, said the two sides decided to open two additional crossing points along their border to encourage trade and economic interaction as well as to facilitate people-to-people linkages. He said Pakistan and Iran enjoyed close and fraternal ties which were rooted in the shared history of culture and religion.
He said it was his third meeting with the Iranian president in less than three years which depicted the depth and warmth of their relations, adding that he discussed wide range of issues, including the bilateral relations, as well as matters of regional and international importance with President Rouhani.
Sharif expressed the confidence that the relations between Pakistan and Iran would continue to grow for their mutual benefit. He said Hassan Rouhani’s election as the president of Iran depicted the confidence of the people of Iran in his leadership.
The premier also extended greetings to the Iranian president and his delegation on Iranian New Year Nauroz.
In his address, President Rouhani said the two sides discussed diversification of trade and economic relations and the ways and means to explore new opportunities of cooperation in the energy sector, including export of electricity from Iran to Pakistan. He said the two sides also deliberated on the ways to boost bilateral trade by means of preferential trade and to move forward for a free-trade agreement.
The Iranian president said the two sides also explored the possibility of sea trade through Pakistan’s Gwadar Port and Iran’s Chahbahar Port.
Rouhani said Pakistan and Iran considered each other’s security as their own security, and added that there was a will and resolve of the two countries to combat extremist and terrorist groups and not to allow such elements to shatter peace in the region.
He said the two sides needed to enhance cultural relations as well as regional cooperation, as he stressed for political solutions of regional problems and conflicts.
Rouhani also extended greetings to the people and government of Pakistan as well as Prime Minister Sharif on Pakistan Republic Day.
Rouhani’s two-day visit to Pakistan comes after sanctions were lifted from the Islamic republic by world powers.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the lifting of sanctions on Iran following its nuclear deal with the West “has opened new avenues for enhancing economic interaction”.
PAKISTAN, IRAN SIGN SIX MOUs
The two countries signed six memoranda of understanding (MoUs) to strengthen bilateral cooperation in multiple fields including health, commerce, finance and foreign services.
PM Sharif and Iranian President Rouhani witnessed the signing ceremony held at the PM House after the delegation-level talks between them.
Per details, an agreement was signed between Pakistan’s Foreign Service Academy and Iran’s School of International Relations to consolidate bilateral cooperation in the field of foreign services. Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif represented their countries respectively.
The two sides inked another MoU for cooperation and information exchange between the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the Central Insurance of Iran. The accord was signed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Iran’s Interior Minister and Head of Joint Economic Commission Abdul Reza Rahmani Fazli.
The two sides also signed an MoU on a five-year strategic trade cooperation plan. Pakistan’s Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir and Iranian Minister for Industries, Mine and Commerce Mohammad Nematzadeh represented their countries respectively.
For cooperation in the field of health research, training, medicine and medical technology, Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar signed an MoU with Iran’s Minister for Health Dr Seyyed Hassan Hashemi.
The two countries signed another agreement for cooperation between the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture of Iran. FPCCI President Abdur Rauf Alam signed the MoU from Pakistani side while the ICCMI president represented Iran.
The sixth agreement was signed for cooperation between the Institute for Political and International Studies of Iran and the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR) of Pakistan. The document was signed by the KCFR secretary general and Iranian Ambassador Honardoost.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani led their respective delegations in the talks and discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in the various fields.
Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir, Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi comprised the Pakistani delegation. The Iranian delegation comprised their ministers for foreign affairs, trade and commerce.
ROUHANI TOUCHES DOWN IN PAKISTAN
Earlier upon his arrival at the Nur Khan airbase, the Iranian president was accorded a warm welcome by Prime Minister Sharif and given a 21-gun salute. Later, the guest was presented a guard of honour by a contingent representing the three armed forces of the country at the Prime Minister’s House.