Iran opposes foreign presence: Rouhani to Karzai
"We believe that all foreign forces should leave the region and that the security of Afghanistan should be handed over to people of the country," Rouhani was quoted as telling President Karzai in a report by the official IRNA news agency.
The United States is pressing Karzai to sign the deal to extend its military presence past 2014, when NATO and United Nations mandates expire and all foreign troops leave the country.
The Presidential Palace in Kabul issued a statement, saying the two presidents are to sign a comprehensive pact of friendship and cooperation between Tehran and Kabul in order to bolster mutual ties.
Rouhani and Karzai agreed to sign the pact in Tehran on Sunday. Iranian and Afghan foreign ministers and other officials were present in the meeting of the two presidents.
IRNA reporter said that a join communique was issued according to which the two countries' foreign ministers were assigned to draw up topics of a comprehensive pact of friendship and cooperation.
The two presidents exchanged views on latest situation in Afghanistan and the country's latest political and security developments.
Rouhani acknowledged Iranian strong opposition to any foreign presence in the region, especially in Afghanistan, and said Iran is against foreign presence in the region, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.
He stressed brotherly relations between Iran and Afghanistan as well as long-term cultural, religious and lingual commonalties.
For his part, Karzai congratulated Rouhani on the Geneva agreement, saying the Islamic Republic of Iran had always been treating Afghanistan with brotherly attitude and sincerity.
President Karzai made it clear that the Afghan government and nation had always been honorably regarding Iranian government and people with admiration.
On the need to protect environment and border cooperation, especially shared water resources, Karzai said Afghanistan adhered to all accords and agreements with Iran.
He said his government was keen on signing the comprehensive friendship pact of cooperation in cultural, economic and political domains with Iran. He said that he is sure that the Afghan people will highly welcome the pact.
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