Apr 23, 2024, 9:37 AM

Inseparable bonds

Inseparable bonds

TEHRAN, Apr. 23 (MNA) – Iranian President says Tehran and Islamabad share “inseparable bonds” and are committed to enhancing their relations across various fields at all levels.

Ebrahim Raeisi, who is on a key official visit to Pakistan, made the remarks in a joint press conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday.

Leading a high-profile delegation, Raisi embarked on a diplomatic journey spanning Islamabad and Sri Lanka. His arrival in Islamabad on Monday was met with a ceremonial welcome, including greetings from Pakistani Minister of Housing and Works Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada and other dignitaries.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif warmly greeted Raeisi, marked by the rendition of national anthems and a display of honor by the Pakistan Armed Forces. Subsequent private discussions between Raeisi and Sharif set the stage for a collaborative session involving top-level delegations from both nations.

Before departing Tehran, Raeisi underscored Iran's steadfast commitment to Pakistan's security, stressing the mutual advantages of reinforced border security. He articulated the visit's dual agenda: strengthening economic and trade ties while reiterating Iran's dedication to fostering regional cooperation.

Highlighting the deep historical ties between Iran and Pakistan, Raeisi emphasized their joint focus on political, economic, and regional collaboration, emphasizing shared values concerning human rights, solidarity with Palestine, and counterterrorism efforts.

During the press conference, Raisi emphasized the imperative for Iran and Pakistan to capitalize on their substantial capacities to serve the interests of both nations. He highlighted mutual agreements aimed at enhancing relations across economic, political, commercial, and cultural domains, underlining shared commitments to combat terrorism, insecurity, organized crime, and illicit drug trade.

Raisi stressed the significance of bilateral, regional, and international cooperation in safeguarding human rights. He expressed dissatisfaction with the current level of trade between the two countries and outlined aspirations to elevate exchanges to $10 billion.

Additionally, Raisi underscored Iran's ability to turn Western sanctions into developmental opportunities and offered to impart Iran's expertise in science, technology, transportation, and transit to Islamabad.

During the visit, Raeisi commended the unwavering support of the Pakistani people for Islamic values and the oppressed populations of Palestine. He criticized international organizations and human rights advocates for their perceived ineffectiveness, particularly in light of the United Nations Security Council's inaction.

Prime Minister Sharif echoed concerns over Israel's actions in Gaza and called for immediate action to halt what he described as genocide. He advocated for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and praised Ayatollah Khamenei's support for the Palestinian cause.

Iran, Pakistan sign 8 MoUs, documents to increase trade value

As part of the visit, Iranian and Pakistani officials signed eight agreements aimed at promoting cooperation in various sectors, including trade, science and technology, agriculture, health, culture, and legal and judicial affairs. 

These agreements encompassed initiatives such as establishing free trade zones, enhancing cooperation in cinema and media, addressing animal health and security concerns, and facilitating legal and judicial assistance in civil and commercial matters.

The signing ceremony also marked the ratification of a security cooperation agreement between the governments of two countries.

“Today in our meeting with [Pakistani] prime minister and other members of the respective cabinet, we decided to promote the bilateral relations between the two countries at all political, cultural, economic, and trade levels as far as possible,” Raeisi added at the joint press conference.

Tehran, Islamabad committed to forge stronger ties

The Iranian head of state also met with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar. The two discussed regional and global developments and “affirmed commitment to peace and constructive dialogue for resolving regional challenges.”

During this meeting, Raisi stressed the imperative of closer ties between Tehran and Islamabad, noting the lack of interest from external powers in their strengthening relationship. 

He underscored the significance of Muslim unity in addressing regional challenges, particularly in supporting Palestine.

In response, Pakistani Foreign Minister expressed eagerness to expand cooperation with Iran, underscoring the crucial need for unity and solidarity among Muslim nations.

The Iranian president is set to meet with his Pakistani counterpart Asil Ali Zardari who helped launch the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project after travelling to Iran in 2013. The two countries signed an agreement in June 2009 for the proposed pipeline to export Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.

Raeisi's itinerary includes meetings with Pakistani President, Senate chairman, and National Assembly speaker, along with visits to Karachi and Lahore to engage with provincial leadership.

Raeisi's visit marks the first by a head of state to Pakistan following the country's recent elections and the formation of a new government under Sharif's leadership.

Upon concluding his visit to Pakistan, Raeisi will embark on a one-day journey to Sri Lanka, following an official invitation from President Ranil Wickremesinghe. The highlight of his Sri Lankan visit will be the participation in the opening ceremony and official inauguration of the Uma Oya Multipurpose Project, alongside the Sri Lankan President.

First published by Tehran Times 

News ID 214251


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