ISLAMABAD - Besides agreeing to further strengthen bilateral economic relations between the two neighbouring Islamic states, President Mamnoon Hussain and Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani said that the connectivity between Gwadar and Chabahar seaports would further deepen the economic ties between the two states.

The two leaders met at the sidelines of 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State Summit in progress at Qingdao, China. During the meeting, wide array of issues were discussed including bilateral relations, regional and global situation.

President Mamnoon Hussain underscored that Pakistan and Iran enjoy close, cordial and fraternal relations. Pakistan and Iran continue to support each other on issues of common interest.

He appreciated the statement of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in support of the just struggle of the Kashmiri people.

Both presidents agreed that the two countries should further strengthen bilateral economic relations through inter-alia increased bilateral trade. They agreed that connectivity between the two sister-ports of Gwadar and Chabahar would further deepen bilateral ties through enhanced trade and people to people contacts.

On the issue of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), President Mamnoon Hussain expressed the hope that all parties of the JCPOA would continue to implement the agreement and uphold their commitments.

The two leaders also discussed the current global situation and agreed on the need to focus on upholding principles and rules of international law and amicably resolving various global and regional crises through diplomacy and negotiations.

Discussing the regional situation, the two leaders emphasised that peace and stability in Afghanistan was important for both Pakistan and Iran.

According to Iranian media, President Rouhani said Iran welcomes expansion of defence cooperation between the two countries, stressing that common borders should be secure. "As long as the terrorists are active, the region will not achieve its development goals,” said Rouhani, adding, "fighting terrorism requires full cooperation and coordination among all countries of the region.”

Highlighting the importance of maintaining regional stability and security, he added, “we want to see a secure and stable Afghanistan, and the coordination of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan is very important for the security and development of the region.”

Vowing to boost bilateral economic ties, Iranian president said, “Iran is ready to have mutual investment with Pakistan in various fields.”

Calling for improving banking relations between the two countries, he went on to say that Iran can be a reliable source for supplying energy to Pakistan.

Rouhani also expressed happiness over Pakistan's membership in SCO and said that Iran supports Islamabad's effective role in the organisation.

Touching on the close stance of Iran and Pakistan regarding the issues of the region and Islamic World, he said, “at regional and international meetings, including the recent summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Iran and Pakistan have had close stances in condemning the relocation of US embassy to the Holy Quds as well as the demonstrations in the two countries in support of Palestine on Quds Day."

Mamnoon Hussain, for his part, pointed to the deep cultural and historical co-existence of the two Iranian and Pakistani nations, emphasising that Pakistan, as a friend and neighbor country, will always stand with Iran, and that Islamabad is determined to develop relations in all fields of mutual interest.

Mamnoon said “Border cooperation between the two countries has been enhanced in recent years, and this trend must persist.”

Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain also met Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan on the sidelines of the Qingdao Summit.

Both leaders held in-depth consultations on matters of mutual interest. They reviewed progress in bilateral relations, expressed satisfaction on close fraternal relations and reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening ties between the two brotherly nations.

They noted the bilateral economic potential between Pakistan and Tajikistan and agreed to make joint efforts to substantially increase bilateral trade.

The two leaders also examined the prospects of cooperation in areas of trade and economy, investment, culture, education, science & technology, defence and people-to-people contacts.

Referring to Pakistan’s energy requirements, the President of Pakistan stressed early completion of CASA-1000 and expressed Pakistan’s interest in promoting connectivity with Central Asia through Tajikistan.

President mentioned that Pakistan looks forward to participating in the 17th meeting of Council of Heads of Government of SCO member states which will be held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in October 2018.

Tajik President expressed his desire to further strengthen brotherly relations to enhance economy, prosperity and well-being of the two nations.