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President Asif Ali Zardari thanked the Iranian Foreign Minister for Iran's pledge to provide support and assistance in the floods. - File photo

KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari late Thursday emphasised on working hand in hand for economic cooperation between Iran and Pakistan for socio-economic development of the people and also called for substantially increasing the quantum of trade between the two countries.

The President also expressed gratitude for Iran's assistance in relief for the flood victims. He was talking to Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi who called on him here late Thursday.

The Foreign Minister of Iran was accompanied by the Iranian Ambassador in Pakistan Mashallah Shakiri and members of his delegation from Pakistan side.

Those who were present during the meeting included Secretary to President Malik Asif Hayat and the President's Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar.

Briefing about the meeting, spokesperson to the President, Farhatullah Babar said that Pak-Iran bilateral relations with reference to economic cooperation and situation in the region were discussed during the meeting.

The President welcomed the Iranian Foreign Minister and expressed the hope that the visit would further strengthen bilateral relations and boost existing trade cooperation between the two countries and help in removing obstacles in the way of enhanced economic interaction of the two nations.

The President said that it was imperative that the stakeholders worked hand in hand for enhancing trade and economic cooperation for socio-economic development of people of the region.

He said the present quantum of trade was too inadequate and that it should be increased substantially. The President called for diversification of trade between the two countries and termed it as 'very important' for addressing trade imbalance.

Recalling his meeting with Supreme leader of Iran and the Iranian president, President Asif Ali Zardari said these were very fruitful in laying the basis for further widening the scope of relations.

The President emphasised close collaboration of the two countries to tackle the issues confronting them.

President Asif Zardari said that terrorism was one of the greatest challenges faced by the two countries and called for greater cooperation to combat the menace.

The President said that Pakistan considers an Integrated Border Management Regime between Pakistan and Iran as an effective mechanism to tackle the border issues including drug trafficking.

President Asif Ali Zardari said that the two countries have vital interests in the stability and peace of the region and therefore they need to work together for this purpose.

The President said that during his recent visit to Tajikistan to attend Quadrilateral Summit of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Russia, an important outcome was the agreement among participating countries to work together for regional stability and peace, socio-economic development of the region and strengthening of connectivity.

It is the right time to join hands and to work together for socio-economic development, he said.

Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project and supply of power from Iran to Balochistan also came under discussion.

The President said that Pakistan was committed to the Iran- Pakistan gas pipeline project and will complete its part of the project in time.

Other matters that came under discussion included situation in Afghanistan and the need for both the countries to undertake joint economic projects in Afghanistan in order to enhance connectivity, build infrastructure, rail and road links.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi thanked the President for the meeting and hoped that the current negotiations between Pakistan and Iran would carry forward the progress made during earlier interactions.

He said that Iran would participate in rebuilding the infrastructure projects destroyed in the floods in Sindh and Punjab.

He also said that Iran was ready to supply 2000 Megawatts of electric power through transmission line.

The Iranian Foreign Minister also expressed sympathies over the devastation caused by floods and said that Iran would assist Pakistan in any manner possible. President Asif Ali Zardari thanked the Iranian Foreign Minister for Iran's pledge to provide support and assistance in the floods.

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