Pakistan committed to Gas Pipeline Project with Iran
Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday said that Pakistan was committed for early implementation of Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project so as to meet the ever growing demand of the country for energy and power.
He said that the government was also pursuing a trade liberalization policy across the border and proposed for elimination of tariff and non tariff barriers between the two countries to further boost trade ties and realize the true business and trade potential.
The President said that the recent agreement between the two countries to work towards expanding the Pakistan – Iran Preferential Trade agreement (PTA) to include additional items from both the sides and making it an agenda item for the next meeting of the trade committee was a welcome move to enhance trade links between the two countries.
This he said during his meeting with the visiting Iranian Vice President Mr. Ali Saeedlou here at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
He said that enhancing bilateral cooperation particularly in energy, security, communication and infrastructure would help the two countries to overcome the challenges in the way of realization of full existing potential of their equation and to realize the goal of raising the bilateral trade to $ 5 billion which he said was doable.
Those who were present during the meeting included among others Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Federal Minister for Commerce, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance, Senator A. Rehman Malik, Minister for Interior, Senator Babar Awan, M. Salman Farooqui, Secretary General to the President, federal secretaries Foreign affairs, Petroleum and Economic affairs division and other senior officials.
Iranian vice President was accompanied with senior Foreign office officials. The Iranian ambassador in Pakistan Mr. Alireza Haghighian was also present.
The President said that both the countries were poised to play important role in the promotion of intra-regional and inter-regional connectivity which was the key to the socio-economic development of the people of the region.
He said that our resource constraints can be overcome by joining hands and enhancing cooperation in all the areas particularly trade, energy, horticulture, livestock, communication, infrastructure development and engineering sector.
About cooperation in banking Sector, the President said that the establishment of joint working Group and the proposed visit of a delegation of Iranian banks to meet Pakistani counterparts would give impetus to the cooperation in the banking sector besides facilitating bilateral trade.
The President said that facilitating export of meat and Kinoo from Pakistan would help the two countries enhance mutual trade. He said that opening of a new border crossing at Gabd-Reemdan will connect southern parts of Baluchistan and Karachi with Chah Bahar and Bandar Abbas through the Coastal Highway.
He said that Pakistan was ready to grant multiple entry visas to the businessmen from Iran on reciprocal basis.
Discussing implementation of mutually agreed projects, the President said that besides expeditious implementation of Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline project Pakistan also wanted to carry forward the proposed projects of 1000 MW Taftan-Quetta Power Transmission line and the 100 MW Gwadar power supply.
The Iranian Vice President said that Iran had already laid gas pipeline on its side of border and was ready for realization of the most important energy project, the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project
President Zardari said that destinies of regional countries were interlinked and we must work closely to overcome the challenges facing us. Militancy and extremism remains one of the biggest and common threats that endanger regional as well as global peace, he said.
Extremism and militancy needed to be tackled collectively, the President remarked. He said that it was high time that the regional countries work together and extricate our people from the threat posed by extremists and militant mindset.
The President thanked the Iranian government for pledging $100 million assistance for the rehabilitation of flood affecters in Pakistan.
He said that we look forward to welcome President Ahmedinejad for the 3rd Pakistan-Iran-Afghanistan Trilateral Summit and expressed the hope that the forthcoming Summit would prove to be an important milestone towards our journey toward finding peace, stability and Afghan-led conciliation process.
Mr. Ali Saeedlou thanked the President for meeting and while expressing gratitude for Pak hospitality said that Iran was equally eager for materialization of all mutual projects and to partner with Pakistan to overcome existing challenges faced by the two countries and the region. He said Pakistan was an important neighbour for Iran and assured continued support and assistance of the government in all fields.
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