Friday, February 17, 2012

International Relations: Iran, Afghan, Pakistani presidents hold informal meeting

Source: IRNA

Islamabad, Feb 17, IRNA -- Afghan, Iranian and Pakistani Presidents held an informal meeting in Islamabad Thursday night ahead of their summit in Islamabad slated for Friday, officials said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Islamic Republic of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Islamabad on Thursday for a trilateral Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran summit.

The three Presidents will address a joint news conference and issue a joint communiqué at the end of the summit.

The three leaders stressed the need for economic cooperation and completion of all projects, especially gas pipelines – one to import gas from Iran and the second from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and will be extended to India, officials said.

The last trilateral summit was held in Tehran in mid-2011.

The three-way format that would primarily focus on exploring cooperation in the fields of economics and trade, counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism, would provide an opportunity to the leaders to discuss connectivity issues, efforts for joint fight against terrorism and organised crimes, officials said.

The leaders will also explore ways to improve border management, controlling narcotics smuggling, in addition to reconciliation with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

After their informal meeting, President Asif Ali Zardari also hosted a banquet in honour of the visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Presidential Palace, the Pakistani presidential spokesman said.

The banquet was attended among others by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Chairman of Senate Farooq H Naek, Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, federal ministers, parliamentarians and diplomats.

Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shamim Wynne, Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of the Air Staff Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila were also present.