TEHRAN: President Asif Ali Zardari called on the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Friday and discussed with him a range of issues from bilateral relations to the prevailing regional situation and current challenges faced by the Muslim community.
The president, who is in Iran to attend the two-day summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), was accompanied by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
During his meeting at the Bait-e-Rehbari, the President conveyed his deepest condolences to the Supreme Leader over the loss of precious lives as a result of the recent earthquake that hit Ahar and the areas adjoining the historic city of Tabriz.
The president said that the people of Pakistan were immensely grieved to learn about the distress of their Iranian brethren. He reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to provide all possible assistance, as may be required, for alleviating the sufferings of the people.
Lauding the resilience of the Iranian people and the vision of their leadership, the President congratulated the Supreme Leader on successfully holding the NAM Summit, which was attended by a large number of prominent world leaders and representatives from over 100 countries.
Zardari also attributed the success of the summit to the vision and wisdom of the Iranian leadership and expressed the hope that it would contribute significantly to create better understanding of current issues.
The two leaders, while discussing bilateral relations, noted that the fraternal ties between Pakistan and Iran were deeply rooted in their common heritage. President Zardari said that Pakistan was determined to build an enduring partnership with Iran and to further strengthen the existing brotherly relations to promote mutual cooperation.
He said that being the important regional players, Pakistan and Iran were poised to play an important role in the peace, stability and socio-economic development of the region.
Zardari also said that the Muslim community, at present, was facing unprecedented challenges that call for forging unity, close cooperation and coordination to overcome the common problems and issues. The two leaders also took stock of the regional situation, with particular focus on Afghanistan and Syria.
The President said that being immediate neighbours, peace and stability in Afghanistan was important for both Pakistan and Iran.
He added that Pakistan would continue supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of reconciliation as the most viable option to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the neighbouring country.
Expressing concern over the situation in Syria, the President said that Pakistan wanted an immediate end to the bloodshed and would support any initiative to provide political space to Syrian parties for bringing peace and stability to their country.
He maintained that Pakistan believed in the principles of non-intervention and non-interference.