ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Islamabad views its relationship with Iran and China as among its most important in the region, the Pakistani foreign minister said.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed his desire to expand economic relations with Iran and China, Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency reports.
"Iran and China are the most important countries of the region and expansion and consolidation of our intimate ties with both countries sets a priority for the incumbent Pakistani government," he said.
His comments come as Tehran steps up its advocacy of the Iran-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline from the massive South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf.
Iran is eager to deliver gas from its giant South Pars gas field through the long-delayed IPI project.
Pakistan is slated for 750 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from the South Pars gas field in Iran as part of a 25-year deal for the proposed 1,724-mile IPI pipeline.
Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency said Pakistan faces a gas shortfall in 2010 of nearly 2 billion cubic feet per day.
Domestic consumers in Pakistan, IRNA said, are using wood and other forms of fuel for cooking as natural gas supplies dwindle.