Pakistan Prime Minister, Zarif Confer

Pakistan Prime Minister, Zarif Confer
Pakistan Prime Minister, Zarif Confer

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif conferred with  Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan on a range of issues, including bilateral cooperation and economic and political developments of interest to the two neighbors. During the Friday meeting in Islamabad, the Pakistani leader and  Zarif stressed the need and significance of building closer relations in key areas, namely border cooperation, trade and economic ties, Mehr News Agency reported. Details of the talks were not immediately available.

The two sides also called for closer collaboration between Muslim nations.

Zarif, who arrived in Islamabad on Thursday for a two-day visit, me with his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday, with both sides underlining the need to promote bilateral relations in key areas.

According to a press release issued by the Pakistan Foreign Office, Zarif extended "best wishes of the Iranian leadership and the people of Iran on the election victory of Prime Minister Imran Khan", Pakistani paper Dawn reported.

Welcoming Zarif’s visit, Qureshi recalled the potential for "further strengthening the already strong bilateral relationship" between the two neighbors. Talks were held on regional and global issues, including the situation in Afghanistan and the United States' decision to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — commonly referred to the Iran nuclear deal.

The foreign office in Islamabad earlier expressed concern over the US withdrawal from the deal, saying that the decision would affect the world community's efforts to solve the "conflict" with Iran.

During the talks on Friday, Qureshi "supported Iran’s principled stance" and expressed the hope that remaining parties to the nuclear deal would uphold their commitments. The foreign minister, according to the press release, reiterated that Pakistan stands with Iran "in this hour of need".

Qureshi stressed that his country greatly values Iran’s Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s "strong and unswerving support for the just struggle of the people of Kashmir".

Zarif called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the regional security situation and issues of mutual interest were discussed. The army's media wing said Zarif "acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s contributions to conflict prevention in the region".

Iran has been warming up to Pakistan after remaining lukewarm for decades and potentially sees its neighbor as part of the emerging regional bloc that could include Russia and China. Iran this year celebrated Pakistan’s Independence Day in an unprecedented manner, displaying large greeting boards along major highways in major cities.


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