Khatami's Pak Visit to Have Lasting Impact on Bilateral Ties: Envoy

January 12, 2003 - 0:0
ISLAMABAD -- Iran's Islamabad-based Ambassador Seyed Serajoddin Mousavi on Saturday said that recent visit of President Seyed Mohammad Khatami to Pakistan will have a lasting impact on bilateral relations between the two countries.

In a wide-ranging interview with IRNA here, the ambassador threw light on various aspects of President Khatami's visit and its impact on bilateral relations and the regional situation.

Both countries were greatly satisfied with the outcome of the visit, he noted. "The impact of the visit will be long-term," was the assessment he made.

He further said that President Khatami's was significant in many ways, particularly with reference to Iran-Pakistan relations which have been undermined for a number of years mainly because of difference of views on the Afghan issue.

"The visit helped removed mistrust and opened a new chapter of increased interaction and cooperation between the two brotherly countries in all fields of common benefit," he said.

However, he pointed out, Iranian and Pakistani officials were not satisfied with the existing level of economic and trade relations between the two sides, and have called for boosting of cooperation in these two important areas.

In that context, he cited the present trade volume of $300 million between Tehran and Islamabad, adding this figure did not reflect the countries' true potential for interaction.

The ambassador also mentioned the three agreements and the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two sides during the president's visit, saying they reflected their desire to expand relations in trade, agriculture and science.

To a question, Mousavi said it was incumbent on both sides to work for an early implementation of the agreements and MOU.

He said he was hopeful cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries would expand. In line with this objective, he said that the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's 32-member team had a series of fruitful discussions with their Pakistani counterparts.

"Iran and Pakistan expressed the resolve to expand interaction between their private sectors in the economic and trade areas," the ambassador maintained.

On the proposed gas pipeline project, Mousavi said that during the president's visit, the project was discussed in detail and both sides reiterated their commitment to its early implementation.

He expressed hope that India's concerns on the project would be removed through dialogue. "Pakistan has expressed its resolve to provide security for the project," he added.

He recalled that President Khatami, during his talks in Pakistan, had described the gas pipeline project as of tremendous importance for "peace and friendship".

The ambassador also said that he was hopeful during President Khatami's upcoming visit to New Delhi, India's concerns regarding security for the proposed pipeline would be removed.

He said Iran and Pakistan bonds were based on religious, cultural and geographical commonalties augmented by their strong brotherly relations.