September 2004 News

Iran wants Kashmiris' wishes respected

13 September 2004
The Dawn

Dushanbe: Iranian President Syed Mohammad Khatami on Monday said Tehran wanted the Kashmir issue to be resolved in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. He made these remarks during a 50-minute meeting with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on the eve of the Economic Coordination Organization summit. Welcoming the Iranian support on the Kashmir issue, the premier briefed President Khatami on the ongoing composite dialogue between Pakistan and India. Talking to reporters later, Mr Aziz said the situation in Afghanistan, Iraqi issue and Pakistan-India relations were discussed with the Iranian leader. He said there was unanimity of views on all issues and added that the two countries had decided to upgrade the status of the joint economic commission which would now be represented by the prime minister of Pakistan and vice-president of Iran. On the proposed Iran- India-Pakistan gas pipeline project, Mr Aziz said a trilateral ministerial commission should be formed to sort out the issue. He suggested that the feasibility study on the Pakistan-Iran part of the pipeline should be started immediately. Iran agreed to the suggestion. The prime minister pointed out that Pakistan was the only country in the region which had an extensive gas distribution network. It was also agreed to take forward the issue of the free trade agreement among Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. In this regard, said Mr Aziz said, he would also be having informal talks with the Turkish head of the delegation to the Eco summit. He said Pakistan and Iran had agreed to increase airline traffic to promote people-to-people contact. Opening of bank branches and investment companies in each other's countries were also emphasized during the meeting, he added. He said they had discussed the challenges facing the Ummah and the need for the Muslim world to make collective efforts to project Islam in its true perspective as the religion of peace and tolerance. AKHMETOV Meanwhile, Premier Aziz also held wide-ranging talks with Kazakhstan Prime Minister Daniel Akhmetov to strengthen bilateral economic ties under Eco. The two sides discussed bilateral and international issues. -APP


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