Musharraf, Khatami pledge to work for Afghan peace, unity
TEHRAN: Pakistan and Iran on Friday reaffirmed the desire to deepen their bilateral relations and supplement the OIC efforts for a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar told APP after a meeting between Chief Executive General Pervaiz Musharraf and President Mohammad Khatami that the two leaders noted with satisfaction the improvement in the bilateral relations.
"General Musharraf's meeting with President Khatami, lasting over one hour, was marked by exceptional cordiality and by reaffirmation of the desire to further expand cooperation between the two countries," Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said.
Both the leaders noted that since their meeting six months ago, "relations between us have developed by the Grace of God in a very satisfactory manner," he added. The foreign minister said that during the meeting, President Khatami emphasised more than once that "Tehran regards Pakistan as a very dear neighbour with which Iran has relations rooted in history, culture and language. And, therefore, it is important for Iran just as it is important for Pakistan to sideline any differences that have existed with regard to Afghanistan in the past and to continue to develop bilateral relations."
Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said that with regard to Afghanistan both leaders emphasised their common interests in working for peace and unity. "Once again, while they supported the present initiative of the OIC in which Pakistan is cooperating with Iran to promote peace among the Afghan parties, the two leaders said that they should supplement the effort through the OIC by counselling the Afghan parties favourably to consider their own interests and interests of the whole region in arriving at a peaceful settlement," he added.
General Musharraf assured President Khatami, the chairman of the ECO Summit, of Pakistan's full cooperation with Iran and with other countries assembled in Tehran in order to accelerate the process of cooperation in the region, Sattar said...
Meanwhile, Chief Executive General Pervaiz Musharraf and Turkmenistan President Sapar Murat Niyazov discussed the implementation of a gas pipeline project that will bring natural gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. "The meeting was a continuation of the meeting that the two leaders had when General Pervaiz Musharraf visited Ashqabad," Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said after the meeting that took place here on the sidelines of the ECO Summit.
The two sides exchanged views on implementation of a pipeline project for flow of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, he said. "We are looking at two alternative routes, one goes directly via Afghanistan, the other route goes from Turkmenistan into Iran and then into Afghanistan and into Pakistan," he added. Both countries, the foreign minister said, were very serious in cooperating and developing these resources.
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