Sunday, August 08, 2004

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khursheed Mahmud Kasuri will leave for Iran on a two-day visit on August 9.

Hi Pakistan: "
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khursheed Mahmud Kasuri will leave for Iran on a two-day visit on August 9.

Currently in London on a private visit, Kasuri will reach Tehran from there. Kasuri will meet his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharazai and President Mohammed Khatami. Officials term the visit part of the "periodic consultations" between the two countries.

An official hoped that there would be progress on the Iranian gas pipeline project, which will stretch into Pakistan and India. "This will certainly be an important issue...and important is the fact that the new Indian government has shown more flexibility than the BJP." The official said during Kharazai’s Indian visit, the project was one of the important issues that were discussed.

The Afghan presidential elections in October would also be discussed during Kasuri’s stay in Iran.

"Both sides want to see a stable Afghanistan, and they have a common interest too in the reconstruction of Afghanistan...in the past there were differences on Pakistan’s support for the Taliban but that is no longer an irritant", said the official.

Iraq is another area where both countries agree that it would not be possible to send any Muslim troops to Baghdad unless they are under the United Nations banner. "Discussions will be held on the positions of Pakistan and other Muslim states regarding sending troops to Iraq."

Saudi Arabia, he said, had already clarified its proposition that any Muslim force was only possible after the US troops leave Iraq. The US said recently that the proposal is premature.

Pakistan is expected to express solidarity on Iran’s nuclear cooperation with the IAEA is concerned. Kasuri’s visit will give Islamabad a chance to listen and hear the latest developments that have occurred between Iran and IAEA. Indo-Pak dialogue and the continuing threat of terrorism will also form part of the foreign ministers discussion."

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