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Pak-Iran to complete gas pipeline

Beijing:President Asif Ali Zardari and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during their meeting today on the sidelines of SCO Summit being held in Beijing, agreed to vigorously pursue the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project as well as supply of electricity to Pakistan.
Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the two leaders also agreed to resolve urgently the issue of credit for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline so as to complete it expeditiously. Relevant minister and officials from both sides will now meet to further take forward the decisions taken in principle. While giving details of the meeting, Senator Babar said that host of issues ranging from bilateral relations to the regional security situation and various ways and means to further promote socioeconomic development of the region with special reference to enhancing regional connectivity were discussed during the meeting. He said that the meeting attended by relevant ministers and high officials from both sides .
Senator Babar said that during meeting President Asif Ali Zardari assured his Iranian counterpart that Pakistani territory will never be allowed to be used against Iran. Other bilateral matters and regional situation also came under discussion during the meeting. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment for early completion of the mega projects between the two countries and to expedite progress on inter and intra regional connectivity.
President Zardari thanked his Iranian counterpart for extending to him invitation to attend the NAM Summit. He also felicitated Iranian leadership for taking over the leadership of NAM. President Ahmdinejad thanked the President saying that Iran looks forward to his participation in the Summit being one of the important regional player and stakeholder of regional peace and stability.
President Zardari on his part reiterated Pakistan’s keen desire and commitment of giving a new impetus to Pak-Iran bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. He said that Pakistan was keen to work hand in hand with Iran for promoting the goals of stability, peace and development of the region.
The President said that in lieu of the energy crisis in the country, Pakistan looks forward to early completion of gas pipeline project with Iran which would help in meeting its energy requirements. He also emphasized upon early completion of other mutually agreed projects such as Construction of Nashki-Dalbandin Road, the up-gradation of the Quetta-Taftan Railway track and the electricity project.
The two presidents also reviewed progress on various measures and strategies being adopted for full realization of the trade potential of the two countries.
Senator Babar said that there was unanimity of opinion that platforms such as SCO have a critical role to play in promoting economic development in the region and jointly confronting the challenge of extremism and militancy being a shared concern of all SCO member states and the countries sharing geographical proximity with the SCO members.
The two presidents while terming terrorism and extremism a shared concern agreed upon the need of confronting the menace jointly and through concerted efforts. The meeting also reiterated that the issue of drug-trafficking– being the major sources of funding for the militants-needed be addressed by the international community on priority basis.
On Afghanistan, President Zardari and President Ahmadinejad reaffirmed their commitment to continue supporting peace efforts in the neighboring country. President Zardari said that Pakistan has an abiding interest in the peace and stability of Afghanistan as it was direct affectee of situation in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan fully supports Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution to the problems.
The President said socioeconomic development was key to finding permanent solution to the problems in Afghanistan and the region. He said that early completion of the proposed connectivity projects in the region would not only help boosting trade and economic activities but would also provide new opportunities to the youth thus weaning them away from the militancy extremism.
Senator Babar said that the overall situation in the Middle East also came under discussion during the meeting.

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