Tehran, Kabul explore ways to deepen ties 

September 16, 2018

TEHRAN – At a meeting between Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on Thursday, Tehran and Kabul pledged to deepen ties in various arenas including water sharing. 

Ways to bolster transportation, finance and banking services, expansion of economic and trade cooperation as well as problems caused by the climate change and water scarcity were emphasized in the meeting. 

In light of recent crimes committed by the Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in Afghanistan, Araqchi and Ghani stressed the need for greater efforts to combat the takfiri groups. 

Before meeting with Ghani, Araqchi sat for talks with Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani.

There Araqchi expressed satisfaction over the progress of talks in five committees between the two countries.

He also said Iran supports a peace process with the leadership and sovereignty of Afghanistan.

Araqchi, in talks with other Afghan officials, exchanged views on issues surrounding mutual interests, regional issues and the latest developments related to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. 

Araqchi visited Kabul on Tuesday at the head of an Iranian delegation to attend a tripartite assembly involving Iran, Afghanistan and India.

The Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Vijay. Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai chaired the meeting.

The assembly sharpened the focus on tripartite economic cooperation with a special emphasis on Iran’s strategic Chabahar port. 

Chabahar port is being considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with Central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries. Under an agreement signed between India and Iran in May 2016, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease. 

India is also looking at supporting the development of Chabahar-Zahedan rail line that will aid the transport of goods to the landlocked Afghan. India plans to use the port as a gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor. 

Counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics were amongst other issues raised in the meeting, according to a joint statement.

“The meeting focused on consolidating economic cooperation, including Chabahar, as well as enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and continuing support to the peace and reconciliation process that is led and owned by Afghanistan.” 

It said the three sides agreed to hold the next round of consultation at an appropriate time in India in 2019.

AFM/PA 
 

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