March 14, The Iran Project – Heading a 30-member delegation, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Pakistan late Sunday (March 12) on an official three-day visit for talks with the country’s officials.
While in Islamabad, Zarif addressed Iran-Pakistan Business Conference, held a meeting with Iranians living in Pakistan, attended a press briefing and held separate meetings with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Parliament Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and National Security Adviser of Pakistan, Nasir Khan Janjua.
On Tuesday, he arrived in Pakistani port city of Karachi and opened a joint business forum there.
Also in Karachi, Zarif paid an official visit to the Tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah to pay homage to the late founder of Pakistan.
Upon arrival at Benazir Bhutto International Airport, he told reporters that Pakistan is a very close neighbor to Iran and Tehran has special relations with Islamabad.
Zarif said that his country is seeking to promote banking ties, preferential tariffs facilitation and free trade with Pakistan.
Addressing the Iran-Pakistan Business Conference, Iranian FM said despite all hurdles, trade between Iran and Pakistan is improving and last year witnessed growth of 35 percent in bilateral trade volume.
Meanwhile, Zarif and his Pakistani counterpart vowed to expand border cooperation.
“Iran and Pakistan as two neighboring and friendly countries which share borders are required to strongly cooperate to secure their borders and prevent terrorists’ operations,” Zarif stated.
“We are ready to broaden cooperation in different areas of politics and economy and we are after stabilizing the shared borders of Iran and Pakistan,” highlighted Asif.
In a meantime, Zarif and Khaqan Abbasi agreed to investigate the problems ahead regarding the peace pipeline of gas.
The two sides also reviewed the gas pipeline of peace and they agreed to task the oil ministers of the two countries with holing technical meetings.
Iranian FM and Pakistani interior minister vowed to level up security and border cooperation between the two countries.
Referring to the historical ties and cultural commonalities between Iran and Pakistan, Zarif and Iqbal vowed to expand the bilateral relations, as well.
Moreover, Zarif and Sadiq discussed the recent developments in the region.
“The six-nation parliament speakers conference was very successful and the next edition will be held in Tehran,” said Sadiq.
During the meeting with Nasir Khan Janjua, Zarif voiced Iran’s readiness to further expand relations and cooperation with Pakistan at all levels.
The Pakistani official, for his part, highlighted the good relations between the two countries, adding “what is of significance for the two countries’ bilateral ties is that Iran and Pakistan stand together to manage various issues.”
Addressing a press conference Zarif said that the Gwadar port city in Pakistan and Chabahar transit agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan are “complementary” and not “competitive”.
In a meeting with Iranians living in Pakistan, he asserted that Iran was the first country that recognized Pakistan’s independence, noting that during the all these 70 years of bilateral relations, the two countries have stood alongside each other.
On March 13, Zarif left Pakistan for Tehran.