Thursday, August 12, 2004

Daily Times - Site Edition

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Rafsanjani praises Pakistan’s anti-terror steps

TEHRAN: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri held comprehensive talks with Iranian leaders during his stay in Iran from August 8 to 10 and addressed a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi.

Mr Kasuri met President Muhammad Khatami and First Vice President Mohammedreza Aref on Monday.

Mr Kasuri also called on Iran’s Expediency Council Chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani and Iranian Majlis Speaker Dr Ghulam Ali Haddad Adel on Tuesday.

During his meeting with Mr Rafsanjani and Dr Adel, Mr Kasuri discussed issues of mutual interest to Pakistan and Iran.

Mr Rafsanjani, who is the former president, praised the measures taken by President Pervez Musharraf to combat terrorism.

Both sides agreed that developments in Afghanistan were more important to Iran and Pakistan than any other country. They suffered with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the influx of millions of refugees into their countries. The instability in Afghanistan also had affected both countries. The Iranian leaders and the Pakistani foreign minister felt that with the departure of Taliban and the emergence of new political dispensation in Afghanistan, the situation had changed and Iran and Pakistan were cooperating to promote peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan. They hoped that the forthcoming elections in Afghanistan would lead to a stable government.

They underlined the need for Iraq’s political independence, territorial integrity and unity. The leaders hoped that free, democratic elections in Iraq would lead to greater political stability and acceptance by the people of Iraq.

Both sides underlined the importance of laying the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. Mr Kasuri assured the Iranian leaders that Pakistan was ready to guarantee security of the pipeline. Mr Kasuri said the Iranian Consul’s kidnapping in Iraq was an act of terrorism. The Iranian Majlis speaker stressed the importance of cooperation between the parliamentary bodies of the two countries. He told Mr Kasuri that and the Iran-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group was formed in the Iranian Majlis."

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