Iran's foreign minister to visit Pakistan

Iran 's foreign minister arrived Wednesday in Pakistan , where he's due to meet President Gen. Pervez Musharraf during a two-day trip aimed at boosting cross-border trade. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said he hoped to spur commerce between the neighboring nations. "My visit is aimed at enhancing bilateral economic and trade relations," Mottaki told reporters as he arrived in Pakistan 's capital, Islamabad .

Mottaki is scheduled to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Thursday before holding talks Friday with Musharraf and Pakistan 's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri. Mottaki's visits comes a day after Pakistan and India failed to reach an accord with Iran on a gas pricing formula, but vowed to build a multibillion dollar pipeline to import natural gas from Tehran to meet their energy needs.

The decision was announced by energy officials from Pakistan , India and Iran at the end of two-day talks in Islamabad . The United States has long opposed the US$7 billion (5.45 billion) gas pipeline because of its differences with Tehran over its nuclear program.

It has also urged Pakistan and India to avoid the project to put pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes. Iran proposed the 2,775-kilometer (1,735-mile) pipeline in 1996 to supply natural gas to Pakistan and India , but the project never got off the ground due to New Delhi 's concerns over its security in Pakistan . India and Pakistan share a history of hostile relations, reports the AP.

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