Islamabad, August 03 2013 (PPI-OT): President Asif Ali Zardari Saturday said that the people of Pakistan and Iran were tied together not only by deep historical, cultural and fraternal affinities but also shared common destinies. He said that the two countries needed to work hand in hand not only for the socio-economic betterment of their people and strengthening of their bilateral relations but also for the stability, peace and development of the region.
This he said during his meeting with President-elect of Iran Mr. Hassan Rouhani here at Presidential Palace Tehran today.
President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in Tehran today to attend the swearing in ceremony of Mr. Hassan Rouhani as the 7th President of Islamic Republic of Iran.
During one on one meeting of the two leaders after the arrival of the President in Tehran, the President congratulated Mr. Hassan Rouhani on his victory in the presidential elections and said that his victory demonstrated the confidence of the people in his leadership qualities and his abilities to steer the great Iranian nation to a new era of peace and prosperity.
Terming the occasion as historic, the President also congratulated the Iranian nation and observed that the peaceful conduct of elections and transfer of power speaks of the maturity of the Iranian democracy.
The two leaders discussed host of issues of mutual interest ranging from bilateral relations to the overall regional situation and the challenges being faced by the region.
Discussing bilateral relations, the President said that Pakistan highly values its brotherly relations with Iran which are rooted in deep historical, cultural and religious commonalities between the people of the two countries. He expressed satisfaction that the mutual equation was following an upward trajectory and said that the two countries have achieved many milestones in their effort to further strengthen their relationship and to transform it to a multifaceted equation.
The President expressed the hope that the momentum of broadening the spectrum of bilateral relations and cooperation would not only continue but would gain further strength during the tenure of President Rouhani and the new democratic government in Pakistan.
President-elect Dr. Hassan Rouhani also congratulated the President on overseeing smooth transfer of government from one democracy to another. He also appreciated various measures taken and the role played by President Zardari to ensure continuity of democracy and strengthening of democratic institutions in Pakistan.
Discussing various areas of cooperation between the two countries, the President emphasized upon the need for the two countries to putting the economic agenda on the forefront and observed that the existing trade volume between the two countries does not do justice neither to the excellent existing state of our political ties, nor to the vast potential for trade that exists between the two countries. The President said that the two countries need to take corrective measures to address this anomaly.
The President also touched upon various other bilateral projects that were in pipeline such as Pak-Iran gas pipeline, electricity import, wheat export ventures, rail and road connectivity and emphasized upon the need for their early completion.
The President reiterated the need for strengthening physical connectivity between Pakistan and Iran and observed that extended road, rail and air-links would bring the people of the two countries further closer to each other and would help boosting trade and economic activities in the region. The ECO container train, the President said, holds a lot of potential for greater regional integration.
Discussing regional situation, the President said that Pakistan was a strong proponent of peace, stability and development in the region. He said that Pakistan has abiding interest in the stability of the region especially the neighboring Afghanistan therefore the two countries needed to work hand in hand for meeting common challenges and to respond to emergent challenges in the region.
The President said that terrorism and militancy was a common threat for all and needed to be confronted through concerted efforts and following multidimensional and multipronged strategy.
Discussing situation in the Middle East, the President said that volatile situation in the wider Middle East was of great concern to us. He said that only indigenous solutions acceptable to all sides would bring lasting peace in the region.
Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President-elect of Iran thanked the President for his participation in the swearing in ceremony and said that he looked forward to work with the country’s leadership for further strengthening of bilateral relations of the two countries.
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