Iran-Pakistan parliamentary diplomacy to help achieve common interests: Pakistani speaker

Islamabad, June 1, IRNA -- Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan says the development of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran is an important goal, adding that strengthening of parliamentary diplomacy between Tehran and Islamabad would further help to achieve this common objective.

In an exclusive interview with IRNA, Asad Qaiser expressed confidence in the joint vision of Tehran and Islamabad to increase bilateral interactions, especially participation in regional and international forums, saying ECO is a strong and effective forum to increase bilateral trade with our neighbor Iran and at the same time developing joint relations with other members of the Economic Cooperation Organization.

The 51-year-old Pakistani politician from the Tehreek-e-Insaf (the current ruling party) said the main and important agenda of this two-day ECO conference is to develop trade between the ECO countries, strengthen regional ties, parliamentary cooperation and find new opportunities for the development of joint cooperation.

**Revival of ECO freight train between Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad under consideration

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan considered the railway project between Istanbul, Tehran, and Islamabad, known as ECO freight train a very important, and said: "We will try to use this opportunity to hold a meeting of ECO Presidents related to this railway project."

"We are determined to use the parliamentary capacity of ECO countries to help resume trade through rail," he said, stressing the need to speed up measures to revive the ECO freight train.

"The ECO freight train is an old commitment and we must take practical steps to revive it," he added.

Iran-Pakistan parliamentary diplomacy to help achieve common interests: Pakistani speaker

**Need to strengthen public relations and economic cooperation between Iran and Pakistan

Asad Qaisar described the relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan as fraternal and called for close cooperation between the two countries to develop public relations, especially the expansion of economic relations and joint trade.

Recalling his meetings with his Iranian counterpart over the past two years, he added: "Increasing trade relations between the two countries is considered an important step towards further development of Iran-Pakistan relations.

The Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly said that our parliament is a strong supporter of strengthening bilateral relations with Iran, economic cooperation, and promoting public relations.

**Iran and Pakistan hold common view on regional issues

Asad Qaiser said although the main agenda of the ECO summit is to strengthen regional ties and trade, and we hold common viewpoint on many important issues such as Palestine.

He stressed the importance of the role of the ECO and other Islamic countries in helping to resolve the Palestinian and Kashmir disputes and thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran for supporting Pakistan's regional positions, especially in discussing subcontinent issues.

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan said: During my recent contact with Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the close positions of the two countries to resolve regional issues were emphasized, especially the efforts of two neighboring countries to defend the rights of the Palestinian people.

Iran-Pakistan parliamentary diplomacy to help achieve common interests: Pakistani speaker

**Pakistan is pleased with the efforts of Iran and Saudi Arabia to defuse tensions

Regarding the recent visits of the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia and Iraq, along with reports on Tehran and Riyadh's steps to de-escalate tensions, the Speaker of the Pakistani Parliament said, "We are pleased with this progress and wish to improve relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia as two countries."

"Unfortunately, the Islamic world is facing many concerns, and on the other hand, any continuation of differences and misunderstandings between Islamic countries will lead to a deadlock," he added.

Asad Qaisar stressed "we hope that the process of mutual understanding between Tehran and Riyadh will continue to address the considerations and pave the way for improving relations.

272**2050

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