Iranian Foreign Minister to Visit Pakistan this Week
ISLAMABAD: Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is expected to visit Pakistan this week to expand cooperation between the two neighbours in the aftermath of the landmark that Tehran signed with the world powers last month.
An official of Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) confirmed on Sunday that Iran’s top diplomat will arrive in Islamabad some time this week but said the exact dates of the visit were still being worked out.
The state-run Iranian News Agency (IRNA) also quoted FO spokesperson Qazi Khalillulah as saying that Zarif would visit Islamabad soon.
Zarif’s last visit to Islamabad came in April this year when the conflict in Yemen was in the spotlight. Tehran had urged Islamabad to stay away from the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Pakistan government referred the issue to parliament, which unanimously voted against joining the Saudi alliance.
Diplomatic sources said that while Saudi Arabia was unhappy with the ‘snub’, Iran was all praise for Islamabad’s neutral stance.
Zarif is also expected to travel to Turkey, Lebanon and possibly to neighboring India along with Pakistan.
In Pakistan, he will meet Pakistan’s top leadership and hold formal talks with Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz. The two sides are expected to explore new opportunities of cooperation in trade and business as a result of the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran following the nuclear deal.
Pakistan is hopeful that the nuclear deal will now pave the way for the completion of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. The two countries will also discuss other regional issues including threat being posed by the Islamic State group in this part of the world.
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