TEHRAN - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have agreed to continue with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and they reiterated their commitment to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries.
Both the countries also signed eight MoUs/agreements to enhance their cooperation further in various fields.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Iranian First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri witnessed the signing ceremony.
The following MoUs/agreements were inked during the ceremony: 1. Agreement on Transfer of Offenders (Transfer of Sentenced Persons). 2. MoU on Anti-Money Laundering. 3. MoU on Statistical Cooperation. 4. Renewal of the Cultural Exchange Programme. 5. MoU on Sports Cooperation. 6. MoU on Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Pollution from Ships. 7. MoU on establishment of Joint Border Commission. 8. MoU between TDAP and IIEC.
PM Nawaz Sharif arrived in Tehran on Sunday to meet with senior Iranian officials and explore avenues for the further improvement of ties and cooperation with the country in all fields. His two-day visit, which takes place at the invitation of President Rouhani, is his first since he took office again last year.
“I am here to open a new chapter in Pakistan-Iran relationships... As prime minister, I visited Iran firstly in 1999 and have always found the Iranians more affectionate on every visit,” Pakistani prime minister told the Iranian president at a meeting held at Saadabad Palace.
Nawaz Sharif said that he was there with his team of finance, petroleum and interior to resolve all the matters which were creating hindrance in the project. He said there was lot of scope of increasing the trade volume and they wanted to enhance it to $5 billion.
President Rouhani said Iran-Pakistan relations had historical connections. Apart from being neighbouring countries, both Muslim countries have the common traditions and relations based on the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). PM Nawaz Sharif’s visit would further boost the brotherly relations, he added.
Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Balochistan Governor Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Adviser to PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatimi were also present during the meeting.
The prime minister told the president that some miscreant elements were trying to sabotage the bilateral relations. He said they would deal with all such elements firmly and would not let them sabotage these relations. “We want security for development and development for security”.
Both the leaders also discussed the border security matters between the two countries. They agreed that better border management and improved security measures would result in increased bilateral trade and strengthening relationship and cooperation between the two countries.
Prime Minister Nawaz extended invitation to President Rouhani to visit Pakistan which he accepted. Later, the Iranian president hosted a luncheon in honour of the prime minister and the visiting delegation.
The prime minister also held a meeting with First Vice President of Iran Eshaq Jehangiri in which matters of mutual and bilateral interest were discussed and Nawaz underscored that expansion of ties and cooperation with Iran was a top priority of his government.
He referred to the two countries’ lengthy common borders, and called for the establishment of joint border markets to facilitate trade and prevent smuggling of goods.
Nawaz also stressed the importance of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline for Islamabad, and said his country will provide Tehran with a new proposal in this regard, adding that Islamabad welcomes multilateral cooperation with Iran in the oil and gas sectors.