News ID: 57233
Published: 0708 GMT December 10, 2014

Iran, Pakistan set for wide-ranging cooperation

Iran, Pakistan set for  wide-ranging cooperation

Iran and Pakistan signed five memoranda of understating to promote trade and economic cooperation at the end of the two-day meeting of their joint economic commission in Islamabad.

The documents were signed in the presence of Pakistani Prime minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and Iranian Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia and his accompanying team.

The MoUs call for establishment of a joint investment committee as well as a sisterhood relationship between the ports of Karachi and Chabahar.

Speaking in the meeting with Tayyebnia on Tuesday, Sharif hoped that the latest agreements will open new areas of cooperation between the two neighbors.

He said Islamabad is determined to expand cooperation with Iran.

The Pakistani prime minister stressed that his country is determined to implement the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and raise electricity imports from Iran.

"Pakistan will hand over the construction of the remaining section of the pipeline stretching from Gwadar Port to Nawabshah to a foreign contractor," he said.

Sharif added that the contractor of the project has agreed to execute the plan in two years whereas the project should be completed in 18 months.

During his two-day visit to Pakistan to attend the joint commission's sessions on December 8 and 9, besides Sharif, Tayyebnia held separate meetings with Pakistani Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Trade Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan and the country's adviser to the prime minister on national security and foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz.

In his meeting with Aziz on Monday, Tayyebnia stressed that it is time for the two countries to stop talks on the gas pipeline and launch the project.

He also proposed that the two countries establish a joint special economic zone.

Tayyebnia added that despite the two countries' commonalities, their trade relations are not satisfactory and do not reflect their actual capacities and potentials.

He hoped that Tehran and Islamabad will be able to increase mutual trade to a desirable figure.

Tayyebnia proposed that Iran and Pakistan set an annual growth target of 20 percent in their Five-Year Strategic Development Plan and set up a committee to supervise the implementation of the plan's contents.

Aziz called on the Iranian side to increase investments in Pakistan's power plants and continue cooperation in exporting electricity.

"Iran and Pakistan should set up a joint trade council to boost ties," he said.

Speaking in his meeting with Abbasi, the Iranian minister said Iran believes the gas pipeline project guarantees the strengthening of the two countries' relations.

He voiced Iran's enthusiasm to bolster ties with Pakistan, particularly in the energy sector.

Abbasi referred to the gas pipeline as a vital project, as Pakistan is in dire need of more energy.

"The Pakistani government has agreed with China National Petroleum Corporation to help execute the plan," he said.

In his meeting with Tayyebnia, Dastgir Khan called for further expansion of trade relations with Iran.

After his meeting with the Iranian minister, he said, "Islamabad is determined to have sustainable trade relations with Iran."

He noted that Pakistan is ready to change some of its trade regulations to facilitate imports and exports with Iran.

"We have reached an agreement with the Iranian economy minister to remove all obstacles to trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and Iran, which might take some time," Khan added.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting of Iran-Pakistan Economic Commission, Pakistani Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq-Dar said in view of the two countries' high potentials and the strong will of their leaders to bolster ties, the target seems attainable, IRNA reported.

He noted that the Pakistani government is determined do its best in this regard.

Ishaq-Dar stressed that his country is firm about beginning the construction of the remaining section of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline in its territory as soon as possible.

Speaking in the same meeting, Tayyebnia said Iran views Pakistan as a reliable economic and political partner.

Last week in a meeting in Islamabad, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain underlined the need for further broadening of mutual cooperation.

 

   
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