Border Security Tops Zarif's Agenda during Visit to Islamabad
Border security has topped the agenda of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif’s visit to Islamabad on Monday, heading a political and commercial delegation.
The visit witnessed consultations with senior Pakistani officials, starting with his counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif.
The visit came on the occasion of 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Zarif and Asif discussed the development of relations in the fields of politics, economy, culture and security, foremost of which is securing the borders of the two countries and combating terrorism, extremist groups and drug traffickers.
On February 18, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stressed in a speech that the Middle East should be a priority for Iran's foreign policy rather than the West.
On the other hand, the Pakistani FM stressed the importance of improving Tehran-Islamabad political and economic cooperation and said his country seeks to enhance stability in borders.
In a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the top Iranian diplomat called for the expansion of relations in all fields.
Zarif and Asif also discussed peace process in Afghanistan, cooperation in banking and energy sectors, Iran's supply of electricity to Pakistan, cooperation between Iranian and Pakistani ports of Chabahar and Gwadar and the development of border markets.
The top Iranian and Pakistani diplomats also exchanged views about multilateral cooperation to help boost stability and peace in the region and fight terrorist and extremist groups and smugglers.
Zarif praised Islamabad's rejection of a resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran, which was submitted by the United States against the repression of protesters in mid-January.
Zarif and Abbasi discussed the construction of a much-delayed pipeline to pump Iran's natural gas to Pakistan and agreed that the two countries' oil ministries would hold technical talks in this regard.
In another meeting, Zarif and Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal exchanged views about ways to increase security in border areas and develop mutual relations.
They also stressed the importance of increasing consular cooperation.