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‘Third parties’ facilitating terrorism at Pakistan-Iran border

FM Amir-Abdollahian says Tehran considers Pakistan’s security as its own: Jilani says both countries to tackle terrorism jointly: Islamabad, Tehran resolve to expand ties with focus on political and security domains: Minister-level new consultative mechanism to be established

By News Desk

January 29, 2024 09:35 AM


Pakistan foreign minister receives his Iranian counterpart at the foreign ministry on Monday.

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Pakistan and Iran will never allow terrorists to harm their relations and the security of their borders as foreign ministers of both countries resolved to expand their cooperation especially in the political and security domains, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian held in-depth talks with his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani in Islamabad on Monday and later bother addressed a presser, laying focus on efforts to revive ties after the recent tit-for-tat missile attacks at their mutual border.

Both foreign ministers insisted that strong long-term relations and respect for each other's borders had ensured a swift outcome.

Addressing the joint news conference, the Iranian foreign minister emphasized that his country considers the security of neighbouring Pakistan as that of its own and of the region's.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the hostilities could not be described as a "crisis" because relations had always been strong. "It was natural that we would manage to overcome this," Amir-Abdollahian said.

"Through joint cooperation between Islamabad and Tehran, we will not let terrorism endanger relations between us."

Amir-Abdollahian added that the two countries have offered many martyrs in the war against terrorism in recent years, saying the terrorists operating near Pakistan-Iran borders enjoy support from “third parties”.

The top Iranian diplomat said that Iran and Pakistan will never allow terrorists to harm their relations and the security of their borders, adding Pakistan has officially invited Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to pay a visit to the country, adding the two sides have agreed to work together on a plan that ensures Raisi's visit to "the friendly and brotherly country of Pakistan" can take place in the near future.

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On his part, Jilani said the threat of terrorism poses a common challenge to both the countries. He said they have agreed to adopt collective and collaborative approaches to confront this menace by full leveraging the robust institutional mechanism that already exists between the two countries.

Jilani told the same briefing that both sides had agreed to strengthen dialogue at all levels, and would speed up a plan to place liaison officers in each other's countries. "We have managed to bring this situation back to normal in the shortest time," he said.

Jilani said good relations between Pakistan and Islamabad were "an important source of stability for the whole region".

He said both sides had agreed to speed up the development of border markets along the frontier to further encourage trade and cultural exchanges. They would also establish a new "consultative mechanism" at the ministerial level and plan regular meetings to be held in each other's capitals. "Our discussions were marked by convergences of all issues of mutual interest," he said.

Jilani said respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity remains the fundamental principle of this cooperation.

Sharing important outcomes of the meeting with the Iranian counterpart, Jilani said they have agreed to establish a high-level consultative mechanism at the level of the foreign ministers which will meet alternatively in both Iran and Pakistan on regular basis to oversee the progress that is being made in various areas of their cooperation.

Jilani said there was an agreement to cooperate to fight terrorism in their respected areas. “We need to address and allay each other's concerns with regard to terrorism and in this connection, the two sides have agreed to station the liaison officers at the earliest date.” These liaison officers, he said, will be deployed in Turbat and Zahedan.

Jilani said both the sides have agreed to prioritize economic uplift and development of their border areas.  He said it has been agreed to fast-track operationalization of five remaining border markets.

Jilani said the two sides recognized that close relationship between our two countries is not only imperative for shared prosperity and development of our peoples but also an important source of stability for the region.  He said this bilateral relationship is underpinned by strong bonds of amity and brotherhood.

In his remarks, the Iranian foreign minister further said both the countries enjoy great cultural, geographical and historic commonalities. He said given the history of these relations, there have never been any territorial differences or border problems. He said this is a manifestation of their good bilateral relations. He said they in fact are a single nation located in two different geographical positions.

He said both the countries strongly respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other.  He categorically stated that through joint cooperation, the two countries will not allow the terrorists to endanger their common security. 

The Iranian foreign minister said they have agreed that their borders will be translated into borders of trade, development and progress.

Amir-Abdollahian said the two sides have also agreed to expand pilgrimage tourism and finalize projects on energy cooperation. He also appreciated Pakistan's stance in support of Palestinian people.

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One-on-one meeting

Pakistan and Iran on Monday agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations and promote peace and prosperity.

Iran's foreign minister was in Islamabad for talks, as both nations sought to ease tensions after deadly cross-border strikes threatened diplomatic relations.

The new understanding reached during a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian with Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad.

The two sides also agreed to work towards promoting the mutually desired goals of peace and prosperity, based on mutual respect and a collective approach to address common challenges.

Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Minister Amir-Abdolahian arrived in Islamabad in the wee hours of Monday at the invitation of his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani.

The Foreign Minister of Iran has come to Pakistan on a day-long visit to meet the Pakistani leadership following the incidents of Iranian air strike in Pakistan, leading Islamabad to strike terrorist hideouts in the neighbouring country’s Sistan-Baluchestan province and Saturday’s killing of nine Pakistani workers in the city of Saravan in Iran.

The shootings came as Tehran and Islamabad were working to normalise ties after the tit-for-tat attacks.

Iran strongly condemned an armed attack by unidentified gunmen on the Pakistanis.

In a statement, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Naser Kanani said that the country’s judicial and intelligence authorities had launched an investigation into the attack, which according to initial reports resulted in the death of nine Pakistani citizens and wounding another three.

While extending condolences to the Government of Pakistan and the families of the victims, the Iranian spokesman underlined that Tehran and Islamabad would not allow their enemies to harm the fraternal relations between the two countries.

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On his arrival at the Nur Khan Airbase, the Iranian foreign minister was received by the Additional Foreign Secretary (Afghanistan and West Asia) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rahim Hayat Qureshi.

“During the visit, Foreign Minister Abdollahian will hold in-depth talks with Foreign Minister Jilani and call on Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar,” according to a Foreign Office statement.

This high-level visit comes after both the countries, in their joint press statement on January 22, had announced that the envoys of both countries would return to their respective posts and that the Iranian FM would visit Islamabad.

Pakistan recalled its ambassador from Tehran and stopped the Iranian envoy from coming back to Islamabad after Iran violated Pakistan’s airspace this month.

However, on January 26, the Pakistan Foreign Office said that “as per understanding between the two countries, Ambassador of Pakistan, Muhammad Muddasir Tipu arrived in Tehran today while the Iranian Ambassador in Pakistan Amb Reza Amiri Moghadam arrived in Islamabad.”

“The Iran-Pakistan border creates an opportunity for economic exchanges … and must be protected against any insecurity,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told Ambassador Mudassir Tipi as he received his credentials on Saturday, according to Iranian state media reports.

Pak-Iran tensions

Sistan-Baluchistan, one of the few mainly Sunni Muslim provinces in Shia-dominated Iran, has seen persistent unrest involving cross-border drug-smuggling gangs, rebels from the Baluchi ethnic minority, and armed groups.

On January 18, in tit-for-tat attacks, Pakistan launched air raids on “militant targets” in Iran, two days after Iran had launched attacks on its territory.

Tehran said it had targeted Jaish al-Adl, a group that carried out a spate of deadly attacks in Iran in recent months. Formed in 2012, the group is blacklisted by Iran as a “terrorist” organisation.

The Iranian attacks, which Pakistan said killed at least two children, drew a sharp rebuke from Islamabad, which recalled its ambassador from Tehran and blocked Iran’s envoy from returning to Islamabad.

Tehran also summoned Islamabad’s charge d’affaires over Pakistan’s attacks, which had left at least nine people dead.

The two countries, however, announced last Monday that they had decided to de-escalate and resume diplomatic missions with the two ambassadors returning to their posts.

 

Reporter Tayyab Saif


News Desk


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