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General

Iran, Pakistan have strategic approach to strengthen ties: Diplomat

-- Consul General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Pakistan’s south western city of Quetta terming the inauguration of the Rimdan-Gabd cross-border gateway "a historic step" said on Sunday that Iran and Pakistan have a common strategic approach to strengthen bilateral relations.

Hassan Darvishvand said in an exclusive interview with IRNA in Islamabad that December 19, on which the second official border crossing was opened, is a memorable day in the historical relations between the two friendly and brotherly countries, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

He noted Iran was the first country to recognize the Pakistan in 1947 and set up its embassy in Karachi. Also, the historical developments of Pakistan and the difficulties and misfortunes that have befallen this country, such as catastrophic wars and natural disasters which have caused great suffering to the people of Pakistan, Iran has always stood by the Pakistanis.

“Similarly, Pakistan has also supported Iran and was one of the first countries to congratulate Imam Khomeini on the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran,” he said.

He added the Iranian people will never forget the support of the Pakistani government and people in the eight-year Iraqi-imposed war on Iran.

The Counsel General expressing his views said that Iran and Pakistan have a common border of more than 900 kilometers.

He added: Both countries together have a population of over three hundred million people which has created a very large market in the region.

Hassan Darvishvand noted that economies of the two countries have not been able to take full advantage of the potential available in bilateral trade.

He said that according to official statistics from relevant sources in Iran, the total official trade between the two countries has never crossed the $1.5 billion mark in the best of circumstances, while Pakistani official sources put the figure at a much lower figure of $500 million.

He added: Regardless of the significant difference between the official statistics of trade between the two countries, which should be examined instead, this volume of trade is in no way in line with existing capabilities and cannot satisfy the governments of the two countries.

The Iranian Consul General said: "Although the two countries have set trade at five billion dollars many years ago, but the fact is that in recent years there has been no significant change in the trade volume and it remained at traditional levels."

He added the real importance of the new border and customs between the two neighboring countries is understood when we pay attention to the geographical location of the Rimdan-Gabd region.

He added: "In recent years, Iran and Pakistan have paid special attention to their shores in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman."

Construction of the two international ports of Chabahar in Iran and Gwadar in Pakistan is a clear reason for this new view of the two countries.

The Consul General of Iran in Quetta said incumbent Pakistani government has shown its goodwill for the past two years to develop economic and trade relations with Iran.

He added: "The opening of the new Rimdan-Gabd customs after ten years of ups and downs is indication of the strategic approach and should not be stopped here."

Rimdan-Gabd cross-border gateway was officially inaugurated on Saturday in the presence of Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami, Pakistani minister of defense production and other officials.

The Rimdan-Gabd border crossing is the best route that gives Iran access to 37 percent of global population in China, Pakistan and India.

In southeastern Iran, Rimdan is located 120 km of Iranian strategic port of Chabahar and 70 km of southwestern Pakistani port of Gwadar.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA


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