Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:30PM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic attaches high significance to the expansion of bilateral relations with neighboring countries, particularly Pakistan.

Zarif made the comments during a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the 16th ministerial meeting of the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on Thursday.

During the talks, the Iranian top diplomat expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to bolster Tehran-Islamabad interactions in economic, political and cultural areas.

Zarif further outlined Tehran’s efforts for the completion of the multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, which is projected to carry natural gas from Iran to Pakistan.

The Iranian minister also expressed gratitude to Islamabad for hosting the 16th session of the D-8 Council of Ministers.

Sharif, for his part, hailed the recent nuclear talks between Tehran and the Sextet of world powers – the US, Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany – which saw the inking of a landmark deal on Iran’s nuclear energy program in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24.

The Pakistani premier accepted an invitation by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to visit the Islamic Republic, expressing hope that the trip would further enhance bilateral relations between the two neighboring nations.

He also called for closer cooperation among the D-8 member states, stressing that Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, as the leading member states of the economic organization, can play a more active role in achieving the D-8 goals.

The D-8, also known as the Developing-8, was officially established on June 15, 1997, to promote the development of cooperation among its member states. The organization comprises eight countries, namely Iran, Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

The D-8 Council of Ministers is the political decision-making body of the D-8, and acts as a forum for a thorough and comprehensive consideration of the issues at hand.