Thursday, August 12, 2004

Iran, Pakistan discuss expansion of ties, Iraq issue

Hi Pakistan
"Iran, Pakistan discuss expansion of ties, Iraq issue

TEHRAN: Visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Mahmud Kasuri on Tuesday held talks with Chairman of Iranian Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on expansion of relations as well as regional developments.

Akbar Rafsanjani told Kasuri that Iran and Pakistan should closely cooperate in dealing with the issues in Afghanistan. He said Iran called for restoration of stability, tranquillity and security to Afghanistan and welcomed any constructive views, which helped resolve the country’s issue.

Underlining the need for further expansion and upgrading of economic and commercial ties between the two countries, he said Iran was fully determined to play its role through laying of a gas pipeline to India via Pakistan.

Kasuri, for his part, highlighted his country’s views on regional developments, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The current problems facing the regional countries, such as Afghanistan, would leave direct political, economic and security impact on Pakistan and that was why Islamabad was following up regional developments with "great sensitivity", said Kasuri.

Rafsanjani said history showed that people in Iraq and Afghanistan had never given into any foreign power. "As long as there is an unfair distribution of power among all ethnic groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will be difficult to expect peace and tranquillity to return to those countries," he was quoted as saying by the Public Relations Department of the Expediency Council.

Rafsanjani termed current situation in the region as "very significant". He said Iraq was passing through a critical time and if the Americans gave up hope in Iraq and respected people’s right to decide their own fate, the problem of war-shattered country would be solved. Iraqi people under no circumstances would "yield to any dictatorship or go under the yoke of any power", he said.

Expressing concern over the critical situation in Iraq, he warned if they decide to dictate their wishes to the country, Iraq would become "more insecure". The only logical and proper way to put an end to the existing challenges in Iraq was the firm determination of the United Nations to establish democracy in the war-battered country, he said. Americans are not able to dominate Iraq; therefore, they should heed to people’s views to this end, said Rafsanjani."

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