Iranian President Rouhani: Ties with Pakistan ‘Strategic’

Iranian President Rouhani: Ties with Pakistan ‘Strategic’
Fri Mar 25, 2016 16:09:32

President Hassan Rouhani says Iran’s relations with Pakistan are strategic as he leaves Tehran for Islamabad on a landmark two-day visit.

The visit, taking place after the lifting of sanctions on Iran following a nuclear agreement, is expected to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two counties.

“Pakistan, with its great people and religious, historic, cultural commonalities, is important to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Rouhani told reporters at Mehrabad Airport on Friday.

The visit is part of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries, the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said in a statement. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, accompanied by a high-level delegation, visited Tehran on January 19.

President Rouhani is expected to hold meetings with Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif among others in the visit, Pakistani media said.

The two sides are also expected to discuss resuming work on a stalled Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, a project designed to help Pakistan meet its energy needs.

Washington had for years opposed the project but the nuclear agreement has generated new impetus to implement it.

Iran has completed its part of the gas pipeline project with more than USD 2 billion of investment but Pakistan has fallen behind the target to take gas deliveries in the winter of 2014.

The energy crisis in Pakistan which suffers several hours of power cuts a day has worsened in recent years amid 4,000 megawatts of electricity shortfall.

Premier Sharif has stressed that Pakistan wanted to explore all available business and trade opportunities with Iran during the visit.

Islamabad and Tehran are also expected to discuss threats posed by terrorist groups to the region and a potential cooperation between the two neighbors to combat extremism and terrorism.

Intelligence, security and border cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad will be also on the agenda during the visit, Press TV reported.

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