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Wednesday June 19, 2024

‘Third countries’ backing terrorists in border areas: Iran

There is no doubt that terrorists located in the common border regions and areas of Iran and Pakistan are led and supported by third countries: says Jilani

By Muhammad Anis & News Desk
January 30, 2024
Pakistans Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani (R) holds a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad on January 29, 2024. — AFP
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani (R) holds a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad on January 29, 2024. — AFP 

ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian on Monday hinted at involvement of “third countries” behind rising terrorism in the Pak-Iran border region.

Addressing a press conference with his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani, he said, “There is no doubt that the terrorists located in the common border regions and areas of Iran and Pakistan are led and supported by third countries,” he said, adding that terrorists never favour any good actions in line with the benefits and interests of the Pakistani and Iranian governments and nations.

Both Pakistan and Iran said that terrorism posed a common threat to both countries, and resolved to expand security cooperation and step up efforts to mend their bilateral ties after tit-for-tat missile strikes this month. They said both countries respected each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

They said that in their detailed talks, the two sides agreed on establishing a joint coordination mechanism at the level of foreign ministers to oversee and steer progress on a common agenda of prosperity and development.

Caretaker FM Jalil Abbas Jilani said: “Pakistan and Iran have agreed to adopt collective and collaborative approaches to confront this menace by fully leveraging the robust institutional mechanisms, which already exist between two countries.” He said respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity remains an immutable and foundational principle of this cooperation. “We have also agreed to prioritise economic uplift and development of our border areas.”

About FM Amir-Abdollahian’s visit, Jilani said: “His visit at such a short notice testifies to the deep commitment of both sides to further strengthen and solidify the fraternal ties between Pakistan and Iran.”

He added that the relationship between Pakistan and Iran is steeped in shared religion, history, culture and geography. “This is a relationship which is also underpinned by strong bonds of amity and brotherhood.” He spoke about conducting a detailed and comprehensive exchange of views with his counterpart on all issues of interest to both countries. Our discussions were marked by convergences on all issues of mutual interest.

“We recognised that the close relationship between Iran and Pakistan is not only imperative for the shared prosperity and development of our two people, but also an important source of stability for the region,” Jilani said.

The Pakistani FM informed the press of an agreement between both nations to cooperate to fight terrorism in their respective areas.

“We need to address and allay each other’s concerns with regard to terrorism and to station the liaison officers on which an agreement was already in place at the earliest date in our two countries. These officers will be deployed in Turbat and Zahedan,” he revealed.

Jilani said that both Iran and Pakistan can resolve misunderstandings fairly quickly. The two countries also agreed to fight terrorism in their respective areas and allay each other’s concerns, he added.

Abdollahian said the two countries have a good understanding, adding that there have never been territorial differences or wars between Iran and Pakistan. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi would soon visit Pakistan, Abdollahian added.

He said “Pakistan’s security is a priority for us” and added that he considered the peoples of Iran and Pakistan to be one nation.

Separately, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, while underscoring the close relations between Pakistan and Iran, Monday reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to further consolidate bilateral ties. He was talking to Iranian FM Amir-Abdollahian, who called on him in the federal capital.

The prime minister conveyed his warm sentiments for President Ebrahim Raisi and extended him an invitation to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.

Also, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Asim Munir and Iranian Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian Monday stressed collaborative efforts, better coordination and intelligence sharing to fight the common threat of terrorism. The Iranian diplomat called on the army chief at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

General Asim underscored the centrality of respecting the other state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, calling it sacrosanct, inviolable and the most important cardinal of state-to-state relationship.

The two sides observed that terrorism was a common threat that needed to be tackled through collaborative efforts, better coordination and intelligence sharing, the statement read.

COAS Munir also emphasised the need for sustained engagement and utilising available communication channels to address security concerns. Both sides agreed to operationalise the mechanism of deployment of military liaison officers in each other’s country at an early date to improve coordination and efficiency of response against common threats.

“Both sides reaffirmed the resolve to remain closely engaged and not allow any spoilers to drive a wedge between the brotherly nations. Pakistan and Iran are fraternal neighbours and the destiny of both nations are intertwined,” said the military’s media wing.

Islamabad and Tehran also reiterated their commitment to peace, stability and prosperity in the border region which was identified as an indispensable requirement for the wellbeing of people living on both sides, it concluded.