International Affairs

Pak-Iran, Afghan agree to enhance co-operation

TEHRAN: President Asif Ali Zardari, President Hamid Karzai and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday agreed on enhanced closer cooperation between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran by holding regular interactions between the three countries on regional issues and for increased mutual cooperation in all spheres including the fight against terrorism.

The three leaders who had a meeting here on the sidelines of the 10th ECO summit agreed to have a meeting of their foreign ministers every month while the three heads of states will meet every three months to discuss regional situation and coordinate efforts for closer ties.

The three foreign ministers will announce the dates, venue and agenda for the first foreign ministers level trilateral meeting by Wednesday, paving way for enhanced closer cooperation between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

During the trilateral meeting which was held on the proposal of resident Zardari, who also had exclusive as well as the delegation level talks with the Iranian and Afghan Presidents separately, the three leaders identified war on terror, border issues and trade and economic cooperation as major areas of focus.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari, Advisor on Petroleum Dr. Asim, MNA Farah Naz Isfahani and senior Pakistani officials assisted President Zardari, while the Presidents of Iran and Afghanistan were aided by their respective delegations.

After the trilateral meeting, State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Syed
Sumsam Ali Bukhari and MNA Farah Naz Isfahani told the Pakistani media that the decision to hold triangular consultations on regional issues was a step in right direction and will send a positive signal to the world.

Sumsam Bukhari said President Zardari took the lead in suggesting a triangular increased cooperation between the three brotherly and Muslim neighbors for tackling the challenges faced by this region through a collective approach, which was highly appreciated by President Ahmadinejad and President Karzai.

During the meeting President Ahmadinejad and President Karzai appreciated the vision and leadership of President Zardari and they were confident that the three countries can work together to tackle the issues facing the region.

To a question about the IPI gas pipeline project, the Minister said that there was a progress on this subject, as the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister has been given the task of working on a new formula.

Member National Assembly Farah Naz Isfahani described as a “breakthrough” the decision in the trilateral meeting and said the cooperation between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan for increased socioeconomic development and in facing the challenges jointly is good news for the region.

She said during the meeting President Ahmadinejad made a strong point by saying that if Soviet Union can be forced to leave Afghanistan with the cooperation and support of Pakistan and Iran, then why these neighbors cannot succeed in tackling the current challenges including terrorism and militancy.-SANA

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Mubashar Nizam

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