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President Zardari proposes Pak-Iran currency swap

17 July, 2011

TEHRAN: President Asif Ali Zardari exchanging views with President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad on Saturday. APP
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TEHRAN: President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday proposed a currency swap agreement between Pakistan and Iran to further strengthen the bilateral trade and economic ties between the two brotherly countries.

The President made this proposal during his meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad here on Saturday. He said Pakistan is already in dialogue process with Turkey,

Sri Lanka and China for the currency swap arrangement. President Zardari, who arrived in the Iranian capital on a day-long visit held two rounds of talks with President Ahmedinejad, first the delegation level talks and then one on one meeting. The two leaders agreed on adopting regional approach to addressing the growing challenge of extremism and militancy.

President Zardari and President Ahmedinejad expressed the confidence that joint efforts would prove helpful in countering terrorism, which was a common enemy for entire region and the world. He mentioned the long drawn fight against militancy and stressed the need for long-term measures and joint efforts to eliminate this menace.

Spokesman to the President Farhatullah Babar briefing the media said that President Zardari held wide ranging parleys with President Ahmedinejad, with focus on establishing a comprehensive strategic and economic partnership between the two countries. The two leaders expressed their resolve to upgrade and further intensify their existing bilateral ties, particularly in the energy, trade and economic fields, for the mutual benefit of two brotherly countries.

The two leaders held in-depth discussions that covered the entire spectrum of bilateral ties and the regional and international issues of mutual interest. The discussion also focused on the ways and means to further intensify their mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas of common interest. The two sides agreed on the need to expand, strengthen and take their bilateral cooperation in diverse fields to the level, which commensurate their warm, deep rooted and historic ties.

President Zardari lauded Iranís constructive engagement in the trilateral process and in this respect mentioned the last monthís Pakistan-Iran-Afghanistan Trilateral Summit hosted by Tehran. He proposed to the Iranian government to consider creating an Integrated Border Management Regime between Pakistan and Iran, adding that both the sides need to intensify consultations and take pragmatic steps for meeting the challenge of militancy and extremism.

He said Pakistan and Iran have vital interests in the stability and peace of the region. President Zardari mentioned the growing problem of narcotics and human trafficking in the region which he said required mutual coordination among the governments. He said that Pakistan and Iran face a common menace of drug trafficking across their borders and expressed the hope that a mechanism in the form of trilateral initiative involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran would help counter narcotics trafficking in the region.

The two leaders also discussed cooperation in the energy sector with particular reference to the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project besides supply of power from Iran to Balochistan. President Zardari said Pakistan and Iran had the potential to undertaking joint economic projects in Afghanistan in order to enhance connectivity, build infrastructure, rail and road links as well as trilateral cooperation in other mega projects.

The Iranian President also agreed on taking full advantage for geo-strategic locations for ushering in new era of development in two countries in particular, and in the whole region. The President urged for further deepening Pak-Iran bilateral cooperation in all areas particularly trade, energy, security, communication and infrastructure.

Pakistan attaches great importance to its cordial equation with Iran and regards Iran as an important friend and player in the region, he added.

President Zardari recalled that he had discussed up gradation of Pakistan-Iran-Turkey rail transport system with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. He said it could prove as a win-win mega project that would enhance regional connectivity and boost regional trade. Zardari said that considerable work had been done in the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and it was important now to move towards the implementation phase of the project.

Zardari said there was a need to bring about a quantitative increase in Pak-Iran bilateral trade to at least four billion dollars in the next few years which at present was one billion dollars. He called for working together to identify impediments to full implementation of Pak-Iran Preferential Trade Agreement concluded in 2006. He also proposed for a bilateral Pakistan-Iran Free Trade Agreement.

On developments in Afghanistan, President Zardari said Pakistan supports the process initiated by President Karzai for national reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan supported a reconciliation process which must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process, adding that the Pakistan government was ready to provide all possible assistance in capacity- building of Afghan institutions.


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