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Ahmadinejad says Iran to welcome Chinese participation in gas pipeline

Islamabad, April 28, IRNA -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday said his country would welcome Chinese participation in the multi-billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline.

"The IPI gas pipeline agreement will soon be finalized and my government will also welcome the inclusion of China in the project," the Iranian president said during meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

The president paid a short visit to Pakistan on the first leg of his tour of South Asia which will also take him to Sri Lanka and India.

The Iranian president said that Tehran would extend its cooperation in the field of food and energy sectors besides promotion of trade and economic ties.

He said that ministers in his entourage also held talks with their Pakistani counterparts to discuss ways and means for cooperation. He hoped that all matters relating to the IPI would soon be finalized.

Ahmadinejad while congratulating the prime minister on assuming office said his country accords high priority to its relations with Pakistan and would like to further enhance them in all fields particularly in areas of commerce and trade.

He said that the existing bilateral relations between the two countries should be exploited to their true potential.

While expressing his sentiments about Pakistan, the president said Iran feels that the progress and prosperity of Pakistan is the progress and prosperity of Iran. He said Pakistan and Iran are like one soul in two bodies. He called for the expansion of existing bilateral relations between the two countries.

The president expressed his condolences over the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. He also extended invitation to the prime minister to visit Iran.

Gilani said that Pakistan greatly values and is keen to further promote its brotherly relations with Iran as both the countries share common faith, history, culture and heritage.

"Iran is an important country in the region and we value our cooperation with Iran for promoting peace and stability in the region."

He said that Pakistan is keen to promote bilateral relations with Iran in all fields. He also stressed the need for enhancing cooperation in the filed of energy and called for an early materialization of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline agreement.

The prime minister said that Pakistan is presently confronting the issues of food and energy security and said that the two countries should work together to meet these challenges. He said that government of Pakistan is also keen on increasing the purchase of electricity from Iran.

On the issue of terrorism, the Prime Minister said that his government is pursuing a comprehensive policy to address the issue of terrorism and extremism. He said that government is in a process of evolving a multi-pronged strategy which includes political dialogue, socio-economic development and security measures to effectively confront these problems.

The delegation also included Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, Commerce Minister, Mir Kazemi, Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, Senior Presidential Advisor Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi and Ambassador Mashallah Shakeri.

... Payvand News - 04/28/08 ... --

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