Pak won't provide airbases to US for attack on Iran: Zardari

Pak won't provide airbases to US for attack on Iran: Zardari

As tensions mounted in the Persian Gulf, Pakistan today assured Iran that it will not provide any assistance to American forces in the event of a US attack on Tehran.

President Asif Ali Zardari held out the assurance during a trilateral summit here with his Iranian and Afghan counterparts Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamid Karzai respectively, Geo News channel reported today quoting its sources.

Zardari said that Pakistan will not provide its airbases to the US to launch an attack on Iran, according to the report.

The President said Pakistan and Iran "needed each other and no foreign pressure could hinder their ties," the channel reported.

In a reference to the US pressure to abandon the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Zardari reportedly sent a message to the US "not to tell Pakistan who it can and cannot trade with."

There was no official word on Zardari's reported comments.However, a joint statement issued after the trilateral summit said the Presidents of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan had called for "non-interference and non-intervention" in their internal affairs. The leaders further pledged to step up cooperation for eradicating terrorism and militancy and said they would not allow "any threat emanating from their respective territories against each other."

They also agreed to "commence trilateral consultations on an agreement in this regard," the statement said without giving details.

The joint statement said the three Presidents had agreed to "proceed on the basis of mutual interest, mutual respect, non-interference and non-intervention in internal affairs."

Official sources told PTI that the US-led efforts to hold negotiations with the Afghan Taliban and sanctions imposed by Western powers in connection with Iran's nuclear programme had figured in both bilateral discussions between the Presidents and the trilateral summit.

The statement said the three countries "reiterated their full support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive process of peace and reconciliation" in Afghanistan.

Zardari and Ahmadinejad assured Karzai that they would "extend full cooperation and stressed that any initiative in this regard must have authentic Afghan ownership," the statement said.

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