Iran FM due in Pakistan next week

Hossein Amirabdollahian to arrive in Islamabad on Aug 3.

Pakistan is set to host the Iranian foreign minister next week just days before the incumbent government completes its term, officials said here on Friday.

Hossein Amirabdollahian is due to arrive in Islamabad on Aug 3.

The officials said the upcoming visits of foreign dignitaries despite the last days of the coalition government suggested the successful foreign policy of the administration.

Sources said the Iranian foreign minister will hold formal talks with his Pakistani counterpart in Islamabad and a meeting with the prime minister on Aug 3.

He will later travel with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to Karachi on Aug 4 to inaugurate some projects.
The visit of the Iranian foreign minister comes days after army chief General Asim Munir undertook a trip to Tehran.
Gen Asim undertook a maiden trip to the neighbouring country as the army chief.

He held talks with his Iranian counterpart and also met the civilian leadership, including the Iranian president and foreign minister.

Key issues, including border security and terrorism, were on top of the agenda.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) termed the army chief’s visit successful.

“During his visit, the COAS had detailed meetings with the military leadership of Iran, including Chief of General Staff of Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri,” according to the military’s media wing.

The military commanders on both sides agreed that terrorism was a common threat to the region in general and both countries in particular.

They vowed to eradicate the menace of terrorism in the border areas through intelligence sharing and effective actions against the terrorists’ networks, and explore avenues for enhancing cooperation in the security domain.

The COAS also called on President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, and Foreign Minister Abdollahain.

During the discussions, significance of Pakistan-Iran bilateral relations for regional peace and stability was highlighted.

The COAS was presented with the Guard of Honour by a smartly turned out contingent of Iranian Armed Forces at the Military Headquarters on his arrival.

Pakistan and Iran ties have been in the past marred by trust deficit because of regional rivalry between Tehran and Riyadh. But there has been a significant shift in geo -political environment after China brokered a landmark rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March.

Since then, the two regional powers have restored their diplomatic ties and agreed to other steps seeking improvement in their relationship.

Pakistan is the direct beneficiary of Iran-Saudi patch up as in the past, Islamabad had to struggle to maintain a delicate balance.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have a longstanding strategic partnership, which Iran viewed with suspicion. But with Iran and Saudi Arabia agreeing to bury the past, Pakistan sees it as a great opportunity to deepen not just security but economic cooperation with Iran.

Recently, Pakistan agreed to barter trade with Iran and other regional countries to offset the impact of Western sanctions on Tehran.

China is instrumental in bringing the shift as it is using its leverage to bring Iran and Pakistan closer.

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