Zardari arrives in Iran for regional summit

March 10th, 2009 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, March 10 (DPA) Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in Tehran Tuesday to attend the 10th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and discuss plans for a gas pipeline linking the two countries with India.
Zardari and his Iranian and Afghan counterparts Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamid Karzai are scheduled to have a trilateral meeting prior to the summit Wednesday on security in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said earlier Tuesday that Zardari will discuss trade and a proposed natural gas pipeline between Pakistan and Iran. The pipeline would cost some $7.6 billion and run from Iran through Pakistan and India.

The plan has been stalled by traffic concerns and India’s reluctance to sign up, allegedly in the face of US pressure.

“Both sides will have in-depth exchange of views on the entire spectrum of bilateral relations with a focus on greater cooperation in communication and energy sectors,” Basit said.

Pakistan is keen to secure greater access to the Iranian market for its products.

Zardari was also scheduled to attend the concluding session of the Economic Cooperation Organisation summit in Tehran.

Zardari left Pakistan as opposition parties and lawyers’ groups prepared for countrywide protests against his government this week.

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