Pakistan president to arrive in Tehran today

TEHRAN, May 22 (MNA) – Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari will arrive in Tehran on Saturday to attend a trilateral meeting with his Iranian and Afghan counterparts scheduled for Sunday.

President Zardari will meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to discuss bilateral relations, economic issues, border security problems, and gas pipeline project. Pakistan’s president will also call on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

 

Iran-Pakistan relationship has been characterized by high level interaction between the leadership of the two countries. The commercial and economic relations between Pakistan and Iran constitute an important aspect of their cooperation. The IPI gas pipeline project represents the most important milestone on the road to enhancing economic relationship between the two countries. Currently a high-level delegation led by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources, Dr. Asim Hussain is visiting Iran to finalize Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

 

President Zardari’s visit is expected to play an important role in further cementing the abiding relationship between the two countries.

 

The sources confirmed the participation of Pakistani President and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai in the summit, which will discuss the rebuilding of war-shattered Afghanistan.

 

The meeting had been expected to go ahead on May 19 but was postponed due to Zardari’s heavy program.

 

Iran’s ambassador to Islamabad, Mashallah Shakeri, was quoted Friday on the website of Iranian state-run television as saying Zardari would arrive in Tehran on Saturday to take part in the following day’s summit.

 

His comments were confirmed in Islamabad by Pakistani foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit.

 

“President Zardari is going to Iran. He will attend the summit in Tehran on May 24,” Basit said.

 

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tehran, Mohammad Yahya Ma’aroufi, Friday confirmed Karzai’s participation.

 

“President Hamid Karzai will arrive in Tehran on Sunday May 24 to take part in the meeting,” the ambassador told AFP.

 

The Tehran talks are expected to discuss efforts to rebuild Iran’s eastern neighbor which is battling a resurgent Taliban insurgency and also to explore ways to rein in the rising violence in the region.

 

Ahmadinejad, Karzai and Zardari met less than three months ago in the Iranian capital Tehran for a regional economic summit, along with leaders of other neighboring states.

 

The three Presidents had agreed during the 10th ECO Summit in Tehran to hold periodical summit meetings to harmonize their positions with regard to the challenges faced by the region, such as drug trafficking, terrorism and extremism.

 

The summit will also deliberate on the socio-economic developments and reconstruction in Afghanistan besides, forging close cooperation in trade, communication etc. among the three countries. 

 

That summit pledged to help rebuild Afghanistan, and also the Gaza Strip after Israel’s devastating offensive at the turn of the year.

 

SL/AA

END

MNA 

News Code 33910

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