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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan today [Aug 10] reiterated the determination of their respective Governments to forge further collaboration between themselves in economic, trade and other fields to carry on the task they had jointly set the RCD [Regional Cooperation for Development] three years ago.

A select gathering at the seventh session of the RCD Ministerial Council, which was inaugurated this morning by President Ayub Khan, heard the three Foreign Ministers express satisfaction over the progress so far made by the alliance. An assurance was also given by them that the doors of the RCD were open for likeminded countries.

After President Ayub’s inaugural address, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada told the conference that “to the people of Pakistan, the RCD has added a new dimension to their hopes and aspirations”. He assured the delegations from Iran and Turkey that “under the leadership of my President, the Government of Pakistan is determined to work most earnestly and sincerely towards achieving the closest measure of cooperation and understanding with the Governments of Iran and Turkey so that we can realise the high ideals and objectives of the RCD that were set forth in the historic summit statement of July 1964”.

Welcoming the visiting delegations, he said, “to all of us, the RCD is a sacred trust from the people of the three countries”. The Foreign Minister of Iran, Mr Ardeshir Zahedi, was loudly cheered when, speaking next, he described the RCD as a “bold undertaking”.

[Meanwhile, agencies from Lahore report,] a news item published in a section of the local Press that the drive against manufacturers of below standard drugs has been suspended by the Health Department, and that the Government laboratories have only analysed 50 per cent of samples seized by drug inspectors so far resulting in the flow of substandard drugs in chemist shops, has been termed as “incorrect” in an official handout issued here yesterday [Aug 9].

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2017