TEHRAN, Mar. 01 (Press Shia) – Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has discussed bilateral ties on the sidelines of ECO summit in Islamabad.

Mr. Rouhani is visiting Pakistan and participated in the 13th ECO Summit. His visit to Nawaz Sharif is in line with his bilateral meetings with ECO member states, which included notably Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

President Rouhani told the meeting that Iran and Pakistan had strategic relations where Iran highly evaluated ties with its southeastern neighbor as extraordinary; “Iran and Pakistan had been moving in a forward path in economic ties with ample opportunity still awaiting will of both countries; improving banking cooperation is pivotal to booming trade in both sides of the border,” Rouhani told Sharif. 

He believed private sector should contribute in both countries to reach a trade balance of $5bn; “Iran and Pakistan share a cultural heritage of literary exchanges which connected nations during the history; both countries should work toward more secure borders and cordial relations in that light,” he added. 

Rouhani hailed Pakistan’s hospitality and warm welcome during ECO Summit and congratulated Pakistan on earing the presidency of ECO, which had support of Iran as well.

Mr. Nawaz Sharif for his part, voiced gratitude for Iran’s support for Pakistan’s presidency and Rouhani’s participation in the event, believing that Iran contributed to the success of the Summit; “Iran and Pakistan, as brothers they are, will stand with each other in hard times; closer ties will benefit both nations and on this we put our good will,” he emphasized. 

On Iran’s southeastern coasts of Makran development, both officials shared the view that the region’s development would contribute toward better ties and economic improvement in Pakistan and Iran; “we believe Chabahar and Gwadar are not rivals but friends and would cooperate for the common good,” Sharif concluded.