Iran’s President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi and Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan discussed issues on mutual interest in a meeting on Thursday in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
According to a statement issued by Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office, the two senior officials discussed strengthening of bilateral relations as well as important regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan.
This is the first meeting between leaders of the two neighboring countries, since president Raeisi took office early in August, IRNA reported.
The statement by Pakistan’s PM Office added that an official statement will subsequently be issued on the details of the talks between the leaders of Iran and Pakistan.
Tajikistan, the rotating chair of the SCO this year, hosts the SCO summit on September 16-17.
The two-day summit of the group comprises eight member countries and is being held in hybrid mode.
The meeting focuses on boosting trade among member states, combating the coronavirus pandemic, the situation in Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s mid-August takeover, and climate change.
SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance, originally formed by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, June 15, 2001 in Shanghai.
The alliance is the largest regional organization in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population.
Iran, an obsever member of the alliance since 2005, is expected to push for permanent membership during the summit.
Tajikistan, as well as SCO’s key member states China and Russia have backed Iran’s bid for joining the alliance.
The Iranian president Raeisi is in Tajikistan upon an official invitation by his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon to participate in and address the SCO summit.
Speaking prior to his departure from Tehran, the Iranian president said that regional cooperation is a "top priority" for Tehran.