Pakistan, Iran agree to expand security cooperation after missile strikes

Pakistan, Iran agree to expand security cooperation after missile strikes
Pakistani caretaker foreign minister Jalil Abbas (R) greets his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian during their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, 29 January 2024. Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian arrived in Pakistan to discuss security, economic, and trade issues with senior Pakistani government officials during a one-day visit. The visit aims to normalize bilateral ties and address the recent tensions following cross-border missile strikes against terrorists. Key negotiation points include bringing the killers of nine Pakistanis in Iran to justice, with both countries emphasizing the need for immediate investigation and accountability. EPA-EFE/SOHAIL SHAHZAD

ISLAMABAD, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Pakistan and Iran on Monday said that they respected each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity and resolved to expand security cooperation, stepping up efforts to mend ties after tit-for-tat missile strikes this month at what they said were militant targets.

Foreign ministers of the two countries held talks in the Pakistani capital days after their military tensions raised alarm about wider instability in the region since the war between Israel and Hamas erupted on Oct. 7.

Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, speaking at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian, said the neighbours were able to resolve misunderstandings fairly quickly.

The two countries also agreed to fight terrorism in their respective areas and allay each other’s concerns, Jilani said.

Abdollahian said the two countries have a good understanding, adding that there have never been territorial differences or wars between Iran and Pakistan.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi would soon visit Pakistan, Abdollahian added.

Tensions between the two countries rose after the missile strikes, with Pakistan recalling its ambassador to Tehran and not allowing his counterpart to return to Islamabad, as well as cancelling all high-level diplomatic and trade engagements.

But efforts were swiftly made to lower the temperature, with the envoys asked to return to their posts and Abdollahian invited for talks.

The two Muslim nations have had a history of rocky relations, but the missile strikes were the most serious incidents in years.

Islamabad said it hit bases of the separatist Baloch Liberation Front and Baloch Liberation Army, while Tehran said it struck militants from the Jaish al Adl (JAA) group.

The militant groups operate in an area that includes Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan and Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province. Both regions are restive, mineral-rich and largely underdeveloped.

Iran said the strikes in a border village on its territory killed nine people, including four children. Pakistan said the Iranian attack had killed two children.

(Reporting by Gibran Peshimam; Writing by YP Rajesh; Editing by Alex Richardson)


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