Zardari talks peace with Iranian, Tajik, Lankan presidents
31 August, 2012
TEHRAN: President Asif Ali Zardari, on the sidelines of the 16th NAM Summit in Iran on Thursday, met his Iranian, Tajik, and Sri Lankan counterparts separately, and vowed to enhance cooperation and chart future course of action for regional peace. The presidents also discussed bilateral ties and resolved on improving relations.
During a meeting between Zardari and his Iranian counterpart, President Mahmood Ahmedinejad, both the leaders committed to expeditiously complete work on several joint mega projects, including the multi-billion dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, electricity transmission lines and road links. The two sides discussed matters relating to further cementing bilateral relations, mutual cooperation and the regional situation.
Zardari also expressed his deepest condolences to Ahmedinejad over the losses that Iran suffered because of the recent earthquake. He said that Pakistan was ready to provide all possible help to Iranian brethren to overcome the effects of this disaster. He also congratulated his counterpart on holding a successful summit. It would contribute significantly in creating better understanding of the challenges confronted by the region and the participating countries, Zardari added. He stressed upon creating viable linkages in the areas of trade and investment, energy and connectivity to bring the two countries further closer. Zardari said the current volume of trade between the two countries was far below the existing potential.
The two sides also reviewed progress on the mega projects, including the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and the 1,000MW Taftan-Quetta power transmission line. The leadership also discussed issues related to visa facilitation and opening of new border posts.
There was unanimity of views on the need to enhance cooperation in the security fields, including control of trans-border crimes and movement of narcotic drugs. Regional situation especially that of Afghanistan and Syria also came under discussion. Zardari said that Pakistan was deeply concerned over the fast deteriorating situation in Syria and believed that stability was important for peace in the region and beyond. On Afghanistan, the president reiterated Pakistan's principled stance of supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process.
In meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Zardari discussed bilateral ties, cooperation in trade and energy sectors. Zardari and Rahmon, besides discussing the bilateral ties, agreed to further strengthen and make the relationship more meaningful. They also discussed regional situation and the way forward to address the issues of common concern. The leaders also vowed to make the forthcoming quadrilateral summit in Islamabad, a success.
Rahmon said that his country shared the desire of Pakistan for lasting peace in the region and would work closely with the regional countries to achieve this goal. Zardari said that Pakistan's economic relations with Tajikistan were on an upward trajectory. However, he pointed out that there was still a rich potential to increase them manifolds.
During his meeting with Sri Lankan counterpart, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Zardari expressed satisfaction that the trade volume between the two countries was following an upward trajectory. Zardari also called for diversifying trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and to urgently remove the obstacles in way of greater economic interaction between the two countries. Zardari expressed the hope that the two countries would continue to stand together at regional and multilateral forums.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also attended the meetings.