Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeSportsPakistan, Iran agree to finalise free trade agreement as US warns of...

Pakistan, Iran agree to finalise free trade agreement as US warns of sanctions – Times of India

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad and Tehran agreed on Wednesday to “expeditiously finalise” a free trade agreement (FTA) and hold the next sessions of business and trade bodies soon after the US cautioned Pakistan of the risk of sanctions for engaging in business deals with Iran.
Following Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s three-day visit to Pakistan, the two countries issued a joint statement stating that they reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations.
Raisi’s visit took place as the two sides try to mend their frayed relationship following heightened tensions earlier this year when Iran launched attacks on Pakistani territory in restive southwestern Baluchistan against alleged bases of the armed group Jaish al-Adl. In less than 48 hours, the Pakistani military had carried out retaliatory strikes in Iran on what it said were “hideouts used by terrorist organisations”.
Raisi, the first Iranian president to visit Pakistan in eight years, met the country’s top leadership, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, President Asif Zardari and Army Chief General Asim Munir, during his trip. He also extended invitations to President Zardari and PM Sharif to make official visits to Iran.
“They (Pakistan and Iran) reiterated the importance of cooperation in the energy domain, including trade in electricity, power transmission lines and Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project,” a joint Iranian-Pakistani statement said, recalling their aim to increase the volume of bilateral trade to $10 billion over the next five years from the current $2 billion.
“There was consensus to fully operationalise barter trade mechanisms between the two sides to facilitate economic and commercial activity,” the handout read.
The gas pipeline project has languished for more than a decade because of political turmoil and international sanctions.
On Tuesday, the US state department had warned Islamabad of the risk of sanctions after it promised greater security and economic cooperation with Iran during President Raisi’s visit.
“We advise anyone considering business deals with Iran to be aware of the potential risk of sanctions. But ultimately, govt of Pakistan can speak to their own foreign policy pursuits,” US state department spokesperson Vedant Patel said during a news briefing.
The implied threat of sanctions, observers said, comes at a difficult time for Pakistan, which is struggling economically and is looking to its allies for financial support, especially important allies like the US, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, three nations that are seen as Iran’s adversaries.



Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments