Rouhani due tomorrow, FTA, gas project to top agenda

Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad—Iranian President Hassan Rouhani of Iran arrives in Islamabad tomorrow for a two day visit to Pakistan. The two sides will hold discussions on matters pertaining to enhancing trade relations and cooperation in energy projects especially the fast track implementation of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.
The Iranian President will be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Ministers, senior officials and businessmen. According to the foreign office spokesperson, the Iranian President will hold meetings with President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Leadership will have an exchange of views on strengthening bilateral relations, particularly after lifting of the sanctions on Iran that has opened new avenues for enhancing economic interaction. Cooperation on regional and international issues of mutual concern will also be discussed.
The spokesperson said relations between the two countries are rooted in a long history of mutual trust, based on cultural, linguistic and religious bonds. He expressed the confidence that the visit of Rouhani will further deepen the existing fraternal ties between the two countries.
According to official sources, the Pakistani side during delegation level talks will urge the Iranian side for early inking of Free Trade Agreement to bolster trade and economic relations between the two neighboring countries. During the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Tehran, the two sides had committed to take the bilateral trade to $ 5 billion dollars.
The two sides will discuss progress on a five year strategic plan for comprehensive trade and investment cooperation. Last year, Islamabad had shared the draft of a five-year strategic plan with Tehran. The proposed plan included simplification of customs procedures, enhanced cooperation between customs authorities of two sides, opening more border points, and infrastructure development.

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