ASHGABAT (Turkmenistan): Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said that Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline (TAPI) project was beneficial for the entire region and Afghanistan alone would get $1 billion in transit fee and royalty after completion of the project.
Talking to the media following his meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the foreign minister said the project was expected to create 2,000 jobs.
The foreign minister said that the TAPI project was discussed in detail with the Turkmenistan president and he reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to enhance economic links through various projects including TAPI. He expressed satisfaction that the recent views expressed by new Afghanistan government showed the country’s intent to favour the implementation of TAPI project.
On Afghanistan’s evolving situation, he said Pakistan emphasised on the proposal of collective efforts of neighbouring countries to find a way out to peace.
Qureshi holds talks with Turkmen, Iranian leadership
Any instability would have a negative impact on Pakistan and other neighbours, he said. The foreign minister said that in near future, convening of a meeting of foreign ministers from neighbouring states was under consideration to discuss the Afghan situation.
He said that Pakistan and Turkmenistan would continue collaboration with special representatives from both sides to hold meetings on strengthening of relations.
President Gurbanguly reaffirmed that Turkmenistan was ready to further strengthen its ties with Pakistan in all areas of mutual interests. He also appreciated the foreign minister’s visit to the region to forge common regional approach on the situation in Afghanistan.
Mr Qureshi also led delegation-level talks in Turkmenistan, focusing on bilateral relations and cooperation in energy, human resources and other areas.
Later, Mr Qureshi arrived in the Iranian capital on the last leg of his four-nation tour to hold discussion with the Iranian leadership on the evolving situation of Afghanistan.
In Tehran, Foreign Minister Qureshi called on Iran’s President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday and discussed with him matters of mutual interest.
Mr Qureshi conveyed heartfelt felicitations to President Raisi from the Pakistani leadership on his victory in the presidential election and receiving Iranian parliament’s endorsement of his cabinet. He reiterated Pakistan’s desire to work with Iran in all areas to strengthen fraternal ties.
Foreign Minister Qureshi thanked President Raisi for Iran’s consistent support on the Kashmir issue, especially from the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
On the latest situation in Afghanistan, the foreign minister apprised President Raisi of Pakistan’s perspective and underlined coordinated approach.
He said it was important for the neighbouring countries to continue consultations on the way forward as peace in Afghanistan would lead to economic and political benefits for the region.
The foreign minister was accompanied by Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Tehran Rahim Hayat Qureshi and senior officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Welcoming FM Qureshi, President Raisi recalled excellent bilateral ties between the two countries. He appreciated the foreign minister’s visit for strengthening regional approach in the wake of situation in Afghanistan, which, he hoped, would achieve peace and stability.
Foreign Minister Qureshi extended an invitation, on behalf of Prime Minister Imran Khan, to President Raisi to visit Pakistan. President Raisi accepted the invitation.
Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2021