Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that building close relations with Iran remained a high priority for Pakistan.
While addressing a joint press conference in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Amir Abdollahian on Tuesday, FM Bilawal said that he was delighted to be in Iran at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart.
FM Bilawal said that Iran was a very important neighbor of Pakistan, with shared immutable historic and fraternal bonds. He added that Pakistan continued to build upon the exceedingly positive and constructive relations enjoyed by the two countries.
The foreign minister said that during the consultations today, they took stock of the entire gamut of bilateral relations and identified ways to take the relationship between the two countries further to match its true potential, particularly in the areas of trade, investments, connectivity, border management, facilitation for Zaireen, cultural and educational cooperation, and enhancing people-to-people exchanges.
FM Bilawal said that he was glad that they had come closer to resolving one of the major obstacles in expansion of bilateral trade through operationalizing barter trade mechanism.
Moreover, formalization of cross-border exchanges through opening of new border crossings and promotion of trade through border marketplaces were the measures of the shared commitment to provide opportunities for enhanced economic and commercial activities, the foreign minister added.
“This will greatly help in improving the livelihood and welfare of the people in the border areas,” he stated.
The foreign minister said that a significant step towards strengthening bilateral relations was the commitment to strengthen energy cooperation through import of additional electricity from Iran.
He apprised the media personnel that they had also discussed possibility of exchange of sentenced persons under the existing legal framework to allow them to complete their sentences in their respective countries.
FM Bilawal further appreciated Iran’s hospitality to receive and facilitate Pakistani pilgrims visiting Iran and said that they had held useful discussions on creating additional facilities for these Zaireen.
He stated that they had discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan, especially the dire humanitarian situation and economic fragility, adding that Pakistan had an interest in a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
FM Bilawal also stated that he briefed Foreign Minister Dr. Amir Abdollahian on the serious situation of human rights in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). He added that Pakistan was grateful for Iranian leadership’s steadfast support for the just cause of Jammu and Kashmir.
He also said that they had discussed the rising trend of Islamophobia.
The foreign minister added that it was time for the international community to show a common resolve against xenophobia, intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief.