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President Asif Ali Zardari visited Tehran from 10-11 March 2009 to pay a bilateral visit and to attend the 10th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit.

This first visit of the President to Iran has helped strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. In Tehran, President Zardari held fruitful and productive talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and with President Ahmedinejad. The leadership of two countries agreed that the security of Pakistan and Iran was indivisible. President Zardari underscored the key role of Iran in promoting sustainable peace, stability and security in Afghanistan.

The two countries agreed to strengthen bilateral ties in diverse spheres, especially infrastructure connectivity, including upgradation of road and rail links; collaboration in the field of energy, in particular early conclusion of the gas pricing formula for the IP Gas Pipeline; and greater people-to-people contacts. President’s visit to Iran signifies the special importance, the present Government attaches to deepening its bilateral ties with important neighbour, Iran.

President Asif Ali Zardari also participated in the First Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan Trilateral Summit. The three sides agreed to meet at the level of Foreign Ministers each month and at the Summit level once in three months. The next Summit is expected to be held in the third week of April in Tehran. The main focus of this mechanism will be the elimination of militancy and terrorism from the region.

The President also participated in the 10th ECO Summit, which took place against the backdrop of current global financial crisis. In this context, the President suggested the need for coordination of monetary policies of ECO member states; developing stimulus package for our region; lowering of trade barriers within the region; currency swap arrangements and initiation of mega projects of regional significance such as Iran-Pakistan and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Gas Pipelines. He lauded the ECO decision to launch the first Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul container train on 14th August 2009.

The President also held important and constructive meetings with the Presidents of Turkey, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

March 13, 2009

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