Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday met his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the 9th Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) Ministerial Conference in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
“During the meeting, the two foreign ministers reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional issues, particularly the Afghan peace process,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office said.
Constructive meeting w/ FM @JZarif today in Dushanbe. 🇵🇰 attaches high importance to our bilateral relations with 🇮🇷, rooted in shared history, interests and proximity We agreed Afghan peace process has no military solution and success will come w/ an Afghan led & owned process. pic.twitter.com/qeTbw3T1NM— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) March 30, 2021
FM Qureshi emphasised the importance of enhanced bilateral economic cooperation. Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative to develop joint border markets, the two foreign ministers agreed on the need to expeditiously finalise the arrangement to facilitate legal trade and improve livelihood in the border region, the statement added.
They also reviewed progress on the opening of new border crossing point.
During the meeting, Qureshi expressed the hope that all Afghan parties would seize the historic opportunity to work out an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political settlement.
He underlined the need to consolidate progress achieved in Doha process and take the process forward.
Expressing concern on high level of violence, he underscored the importance of reduction in violence leading to ceasefire.
Foreign Minister Qureshi also underlined the need to be cognisant of “spoilers”, who did not wish to see return of peace and stability in the region, the communiqué said.
He added that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan would help in improving connectivity and promote infrastructure development in the region.
The foreign minister thanked Iran for steadfast support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and PM Imran efforts to counter Islamophobia and promote inter-faith harmony.
The two foreign ministers agreed to remain in close contact and maintain bilateral political exchanges, the official statement added.
Pakistan, Kazakhstan pledge to bolster bilateral ties
On the sidelines, Foreign Minister Qureshi also met Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mukhtar Tileuberdi.
During the meeting, the two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional issues.
Qureshi noted that there is immense potential to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields including trade, aviation, railways and connectivity.
It was agreed between the two sides to optimally utilise the bilateral institutional mechanisms to promote practical cooperation, particularly through the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC), Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC), and Joint Working Groups (JWG) in relevant fields.
Good to meet FM #MukhtarTileuberdi to discuss a more comprehensive bilat relationship focussed on trade, aviation, agriculture & defence production w/ strategic benefit of 🇵🇰 regional connectivity providing shortest trade route to C Asian States through the port of Gwadar. 🇵🇰 🇰🇿 pic.twitter.com/OKBhJ38ami— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) March 30, 2021
Highlighting that Pakistan provided the shortest route to Central Asian states through the Gwadar port, the foreign minister invited Kazakhstan to utilise the opportunity for mutual benefit.
The importance of reinforcing road connectivity through QTTA (Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement) was also emphasised.
The Kazakhstan’s foreign minister shared his perspective on the regional situation, particularly Pakistan’s positive contributions to the Afghan peace process.
He added that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan would give impetus to connectivity, leading to overall trade enhancement, facilitation of business travel, and people-to-people exchanges.
The two sides also affirmed their resolve to enhance mutual collaboration in the multi-lateral fora including the UN, SCO, ECO, and CICA.
They also agreed to maintain close contact and advance bilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest.