Islamabad, September 22, 2016 (PPI-OT):Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and President Dr. Hassan Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran met at New York today on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly session. The Prime Minister was assisted by Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, among others.
The two leaders had last met during President Rouhani’s visit to Islamabad this year. Both sides expressed satisfaction on the positive trajectory of bilateral ties between Pakistan and Iran. The lifting of international sanctions against Iran has paved the way for resumption of economic relations between the two countries with a view to realizing the true potential of bilateral trade. Current trade volume remains low at US$ 268 million per annum.
In this regard, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif stressed on the need to remain engaged at expert level to remove whatever technical delays that continue to hold back resumption of full economic cooperation between the two countries.
Opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, especially oil, gas and electricity were also discussed. The two sides noted that progress on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and electricity import from Iran would help overcome Pakistan’s energy shortages in the coming years.
The Iranian President said that Iran can install a power plant on border with Pakistan to supply electricity. We consider Pakistan’s economic development as our development, the President added. The Iranian President said that Pakistan’s security is security of Iran. There is a need for defence cooperation between Iran and Pakistan as there is a history of defence cooperation between the two countries, the President mentioned.
There is also immense need for cooperation between Iran and Pakistan in the field of science and technology; we need to benefit from each others’ strong points in science and technology, the President stressed. The Prime Minister said that the hearts of the peoples of Pakistan and Iran beat together. Iran is a brotherly country. Our interests are same; we need to further consolidate our economic cooperation, expressed the Prime Minister.
President Rouhani lauded the vision of the Prime Minister for translating CPEC into reality and expressed his desire to be part of the CPEC. Connectivity projects were recognized by both Pakistan and Iran as vital to the progress of the region. In particular, the two leaders reiterated the complementarily between Gwadar and Chabahar sea ports that could boost regional trade exponentially in the decades ahead.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that he will nominate two focal persons who will finalize energy projects with Iran in coming days. Border management and security were also discussed. The Prime Minister apprised President Rouhani of Indian brutalities in Kashmir, particularly in the past two months.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been victims of heinous acts of state sponsored terrorism at the hands of Indian occupation forces. The Prime Minister shared the latest situation in Kashmir, which continues to remain tense in the wake of the uprising that has surfaced in response to Indian barbaric acts in the Valley.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif also stressed on the need for building unity and cohesion within the Muslim world, particularly at a time of such great turmoil. The Iranian President said that the future of Iran and Pakistan is similar and bright. The President extended an invitation to the Prime Minister for visiting Iran. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that he has great affection for Iranian brothers since 1967. He accepted the invitation and said that he will visit Tehran soon.
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