TEHRAN – In a meeting with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran and Islamabad should take measures to create safe and prosperous border areas.
“Iran calls for the establishment of security and stability in border areas between Iran and Pakistan,” Rouhani said, adding that Tehran has made efforts to control the borders to prevent any harm to its neighbors, particularly Pakistan.
The Iranian president also commented on the recent incident in which five Iranian border guards were kidnapped near the border with Pakistan, appreciating the cooperation of the government and people of Pakistan in securing the release of the guards.
Five Iranian guards were abducted in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan in February and were transferred to Pakistan. Later, the so-called Jaish-ul-Adl terrorist group claimed responsibility for the abduction.
Following intensive efforts by the Iranian government, the group released four border guards in April. The terrorist group had previously claimed that it had killed the fifth member of the group of guards.
“More efforts by the Pakistani government to control and ensure the security of the borders will speed up the development process in the region and Pakistan,” Rouhani noted.
He added that the Islamic republic sees no obstacle in the way of expanding relations between the two countries, particularly in cultural and economic areas.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani said that terrorism poses a major threat to the region that has inflicted all countries.
The president said all regional countries including Arab states “need to believe that the presence of terrorist groups is not beneficial to the peace, security, and interest of any country.”
New chapter in ties
The Pakistani prime minister, for his part, expressed hope that his visit to Tehran would open a new chapter in cementing relations between the two neighboring countries.
Sharif added that there is ample opportunity to increase economic ties between Tehran and Islamabad in accordance with their vast potential.
He also said his government is determined to overcome obstacles in the way of reviving the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.
Prime Minister Sharif also said, “Iran and Pakistan should reach common mechanisms and methods so that they can control terrorist incidents and cooperate to identify and deal with terrorist elements so that security would be established at the borders.”