News ID: 253282
Published: 0257 GMT May 24, 2019

Visiting Zarif, Pakistani officials discuss ties, regional tensions

Visiting Zarif, Pakistani officials discuss ties, regional tensions

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met Friday with officials from neighboring Pakistan to discuss bilateral ties and escalating tensions between Iran and the United States.

In his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Zarif highlighted the importance of boosting cooperation, especially linking the Iranian Chabahar and Pakistani Gwadar ports for the benefit of both countries.

The Pakistani PM referred to his last month’s visit to Iran and reiterated his country’s interest in expanding ties with Iran and cooperation on maintaining border security.

Khan also stressed the need to maintain border security as well as regional peace.

Zarif also held talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on bilateral issues and regional developments.

Zarif assured Qureshi that Iran "gives value" to Islamabad's efforts to establish peace in the region.

Qureshi assured Zarif of Pakistan's continued efforts toward reducing tension in the region amid a simmering crisis between Tehran and Washington.

Qureshi noted that regional tension was in no one's interest. He stated that Pakistan wants resolution of all outstanding issues through diplomatic engagement and said that stakeholders need to demonstrate patience and tolerance, Radio Pakistan reported.

After landing in Islamabad late Thursday, Zarif told reporters he would brief Pakistani officials on what he described as "dangerous" developments in the region.

The top diplomat also said he would put forward a "proposal" for connecting Pakistan's Gwadar port to its "complementary" port Chabahar in southeastern Iran.

"We believe that Chabahar and Gwadar can complement each other," Zarif said upon arrival in Islamabad.

"We can connect Chabahar and Gwadar, and then through that, connect Gwadar to our entire railroad system, from Iran to the North Corridor, through Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, and also through Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkey," he noted.

Pakistan's archrival India is trying to develop the port of Chabahar as a way to gain access to the markets of Central Asia as well as Afghanistan by bypassing Pakistan. The port is about 72 kilometers from its Pakistani counterpart Gwadar, which is being developed by China.

The strategic Iranian port city created a unique opportunity for India to send its goods to landlocked Afghanistan through a safe new route. It would to the same effect enable Afghan merchants to export their commodities – mainly fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and minerals – to global markets through Chabahar.

India hopes to utilize Iran’s transit potentials to embolden its connectivity footprints, with Chabahar being the stepping stone to those ambitions.

Dawn and Press TV contributed to this report.





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