No objections over anyone’s participation in CPEC: Iran envoy

Islamabad, Oct 4, IRNA -- Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost says Iran has no objection on any country participating in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Addressing a press conference at Iranian consulate in south western city of Quetta, he said that CPEC is a game changer.

The ambassador expressing his views said that Iran wishes to have good relations with Pakistan and that he is positive they will improve even more.

“Relations and cooperation in various matters between the two countries is on the right track,” Honardoost said, adding that the two countries are on the same page in a lot of matters.

The ambassador said that terrorism has affected both countries.

Under the CPEC many infrastructure projects are under construction throughout Pakistan. Originally valued at $46 billion, the value of CPEC projects is now worth $62 billion. The project will link Pakistani Gwadar port to China Xinjiang province.

Last month, Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that Saudi Arabia is the third strategic partner of the CPEC.

The statement resulted in criticism and questions from the opposition who asked why they were not taken into confidence over the decision. It also asked whether China’s consent as well as regional concerns were taken into account.

However speaking at a joint news conference with Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar said there was no decision to bring a third country, like Saudi Arabia, under the framework of the CPEC.

He said that Saudi Arabia would not be made part of the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework and the kingdom’s proposed investments would fall under a separate bilateral arrangement.

Pakistan media earlier had also reported that Saudi investment in CPEC raised eyebrows in Iran, which is skeptical of Saudi intentions.

The report said Riyadh is Washington's closest ally in the region, and its involvement in a China-led economic project raises a number of questions about new geopolitical alignments. Iran, for instance, would certainly not want a Saudi presence next to its border.
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