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PM Abbasi, Iran's FM Zarif agree on increasing bilateral trade to $5 billion by 2021

Updated March 12, 2018

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Iranian FM Javad Zarif speaks during an event at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. —AFP
Iranian FM Javad Zarif speaks during an event at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. —AFP
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif cuts a cake during an event to mark 70 years of Pakistan-Iran relations. —AFP
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif cuts a cake during an event to mark 70 years of Pakistan-Iran relations. —AFP

During a meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi emphasised the need for Pakistan and Iran to work together 'in all earnest' to reach the $5 billion trade target by 2021, RadioPak reported on Monday.

The prime minister vowed to remove all obstacles that were hindering the progress of the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project. Abbasi and Zarif agreed that both countries would benefit from regional economic integration.

The importance of peace in Afghanistan for stability and economic progress of the region was also discussed.

Prime Minister Abbasi reaffirmed Pakistan's commitment to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan and urged Iran's government to play its part. He said as neighbours, both Iran and Pakistan can play an important part in achieving peace in the region.

Zarif also lauded Pakistan's efforts to minimise illegal cross-border activities by strengthening border management across the border shared with Iran. He also hailed the increasing interaction between the two countries' administrations as a positive sign.

Iran's foreign minister had arrived in Pakistan on Sunday night, leading a high-level delegation that includes a large group of businessmen and is scheduled to meet civilian and military leadership.

Before Zarif's arrival, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted by Iranian media as having said that the Iranian minister would review issues of mutual interest with a special focus on expansion of economic and trade relations between the two neighbours.

The two countries are continuing to face challenges in ties despite the apparent improvement in them since Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s trip to Tehran late last year.

With Iran leasing out Chabahar Port to India and Pakistan Army announcing deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia, the mutual mistrust between the neighbours stands renewed.

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