Iran calls for strengthening regional cooperation to deal with desert locust challenge

Islamabad, July 10, IRNA -- The representative of the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in Pakistan criticizing problems in bilateral cooperation to cope with the challenge of desert locust attacks said that continuation of coercive behavior towards Iran would harm other countries, especially its neighbors.

Somayeh Karimdoost said this during a briefing to the diplomatic community by the National Locust Control Centre (NLCC), in Islamabad on Friday. The meeting was attended by Pakistani officials, ambassadors and representatives of international organizations.

Referring to the cooperation and timely coordination of the two countries she said that leaders of Iran and Pakistan have remained in touch on the issue. She added that the two countries have also prepared a charter to deal with locust issue, however, external interference is creating hurdles in the implementation of the bilateral mechanism.

Karimdoost noted that locust swarms have already devastated crops and it is feared that they can cause greater damage so regional cooperation in this regard must be taken seriously without any discrimination.  

She called on the World Food Organization (WFO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to play a more effective role in assisting countries affected by desert locusts and facilitate cooperation between them.

The Iranian diplomat said despite the problems in the availability of pesticide spraying aircraft due to a one-sided approach of some countries, Iran has made every effort to control locust attacks and help its neighbors to prevent the damage caused by this problem.

The representative of the Iranian embassy warned that if such coercive behavior continues against Iran in dealing with the locust challenge it will have a negative impact on the region especially the neighboring states of Iran.

***Pakistan ready for close cooperation with Iran

Director General at the UN Division of the Foreign Office while responding to a question of IRNA about Pakistan’s cooperation with other countries to combat desert locusts, including Iran, said Pakistani officials are in contact with their Iranian counterparts on the issue.

Farrokh Iqbal Khan said Pakistan is committed to removing all obstacles in cooperation between Iran and Pakistan to fight the locust attacks.

National Coordinator NLCC Lt. General Moazzam Ejaz also told IRNA that officials of the center are in constant contact with the authorities of other countries, especially Iran, to deal with the desert locusts.

“We are also processing Iran’s request for the pesticides,” he said.

The Iranian ambassador to Pakistan on the occasion said that desert locust attacks have endangered the food security of millions of people, adding that strengthening of cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad would help the two countries to deal with the problem.

Sayyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Iran and Pakistan have proved throughout history that they can overcome difficulties through cooperation and efforts.

Minister for Food Security Fakhr Imam was also present on the occasion.

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