In trilateral meeting, presidents call for stronger cooperation
KABUL (PAN): In a trilateral meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran yesterday, the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran promised to cooperate against terrorism and foreign interference. At the same time, they vowed to strengthen political, economic and cultural ties between their three countries.
President Karzai arrived in Tehran on Friday to meet his counterparts in the presidential palace. He highlighted Iran’s role in maintaining security throughout the region and said Afghanistan was eager for the departure of foreign troops.
He said that Iran and Pakistan will however retain a key role in ensuring sustainable security in Afghanistan.
Karzai said the Afghan people are working to build their own government and contribute to sustainable regional security, but that Afghanistan requires the help of its neighbouring countries, especially Iran and Pakistan, in order to do so effectively.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad all expressed their concerns about intensifying regional insecurity, and insisted on trilateral cooperation, especially in counterinsurgency.
Each of the three presidents maintained that extremism and terrorism are contrary to Islamic tradition and to the rich culture of the region. They said their goal was to defeat terrorism jointly through good political relationships with each other.
The three counterparts also expressed confidence that they could solve regional conflicts and meet regional challenges without foreign intervention.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that foreign influence lay at the root of the region’s problems. He said Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan faced common threats and could benefit from each other’s deep perspectives on regional and international issues, and forge common solutions for their problems.
President Ahmadinejad said: "The security of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan is tied together. Our enemies do not want to see our countries prosper. We have all the facilities we need to develop our countries, and if we put them together we can achieve progress."
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari also lent his support to trilateral assistance, saying that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran are the countries most afflicted by terrorism and insecurity.
He said: "Pakistan has all the facilities we require, and peace does not require the involvement of international troops in our countries’ affairs. For this we need trilateral cooperation, and if we cooperate with each other we can be the main actors of the region. Pakistan is prepared to work jointly with Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Zardari said that the world’s great powers do not genuinely want to bring peace and security to the region, but that Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan will maintain security and defeat militancy.
The three presidents issued a joint statement at the end of the meeting.
An international conference on counterinsurgency will be held in Tehran on Saturday. Six countries will participate, as will representatives of the international community.
In addition to the presidents of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, the conference will include Sudanese President Omar-All Bashir, Iraqi President Jalal Talibani, and Tajik President Imam Ali Rahman.
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