Pakistan, Iran agree to bolster trade, economic ties; to open additional borders

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran on Friday agreed to further bolster their bilateral relations in diverse areas of trade, economy and energy, besides deciding to open two additional crossing points along their border to encourage and facilitate trade and people-to-people contacts.

“Our trade and economic ties have suffered due to sanctions. We have agreed to strengthen our bilateral ties in diverse areas of trade, economy and energy,” Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said while addressing a joint press stakeout alongwith Iranian President Hassan Rouhani here at the PM House.

Earlier, Prime Minister Sharif and President Rouhani held one-on-one and delegation level talks during which the two sides held wide range of discussions on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.

After the talks, the two leaders also witnessed the signing of six Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) including the one described as “Five Year Strategic Trade Cooperation Plan”.

The Prime Minister said the two sides also decided to open two additional crossing points along their border to encourage trade and economic interaction as well as to facilitate the people-to-people contacts.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and Iran enjoy close and fraternal ties which were rooted in the shared history of culture and religion.

He said it was his third meeting with the Iranian President in less than three years, which depicted depth and warmth of their relations.

The Prime Minister said during the one-on-one and delegations talks, they discussed wide range of issues including the bilateral relations as well as the matters of regional and international importance.

Nawaz Sharif expressed his confidence that the relations between Pakistan and Iran will continue to grow from strength to strength for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

The Prime Minister said Hassan Rouhani’s election as President of Iran depicted the confidence of the people of Iran in his leadership.

He also extended Nauroz greetings to the Iranian President and his delegation.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the two sides discussed diversification of trade and economic relations and the ways and means to explore new opportunities of cooperation in energy sector including the export of electricity from Iran to Pakistan.

He said the two sides also deliberated on the ways to boost bilateral trade by means of preferential trade and move forward for a free trade agreement between Pakistan and Iran.

The Iranian President said the two sides also explored the possibility of sea trade through Pakistan’s Gwadar Port and Iran’s Chahbahar Port.

He said Pakistan and Iran consider each other’s security as their own security, adding, there was a will and resolve of the two countries to combat extremist and terrorist groups and not to allow such elements to shatter peace in the region.

The Iranian President said the two sides also need to enhance cultural relations as well as regional cooperation.

He stressed for political solutions of regional problems and conflicts.

President Rouhani also extended greetings to the people and government of Pakistan as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Pakistan Day.