Pakistan PM, Iran president-elect discuss Afghanistan war

July 5, 2021 - 19:17

TEHRAN – Iranian President-elect Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke by phone late on Sunday discussing the recent developments in neighboring Afghanistan.

Imran Khan congratulated President-elect Raisi on his victory in the presidential elections held on June 18, expressing hope that he will soon be able to meet him, IRNA state news reported.

The Pakistani prime minister was one of the first leaders to congratulate Ayatollah Raisi on his election win. 

“Congratulations to Excellency brother Ebrahim Raisi @raisi_com on his landmark victory in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s 13th Presidential elections. Look forward to working with him for further strengthening of our fraternal ties and for regional peace, progress and prosperity,” Imran Khan said on Twitter hours of Iran announced the results of its presidential election on June 19.

The call was done at the initiative of the Pakistani prime minister, according to a statement put out by the premier office. “The Prime Minister congratulated President-elect Raisi on his victory in the Presidential elections held on 18 June 2021, which was a manifestation of Iranian people’s trust in his leadership. The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory of bilateral relations [between] Pakistan and Iran and agreed on further boosting existing cooperation, in particular in its economic dimension. It was affirmed that the establishment of border sustenance markets along Pakistan-Iran border was an important step, which would yield economic and social benefits for the people of both countries,” the statement said. 

It added, “In the regional context, the PM expressed concern at the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, & cautioned that the latest developments could lead to serious repercussions for both Pakistan & Iran, resulting in an influx of refugees towards the bordering areas of the two countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly underscored the imperative of a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. Both sides emphasized the need to continue facilitating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive political settlement.”

Imran Khan also appreciated Iran’s support for Kashmir. “The PM thanked Iran for its steadfast support for the just cause of Jammu & Kashmir. Expressing concern at the serious human rights situation in IIOJK & Palestine, the two leaders emphasized the need to resolve these long-standing disputes in accordance with the UNSC resolutions,” the Pakistani statement noted. 

“It was agreed to maintain high-level exchanges, with both leaders extending invitations to each other to pay official visits,” the statement concluded. 

The Pakistani prime minister also praised Raisi as an “eminent scholar,” according to a statement issued by the Iranian president-elect’s office. “I read your biography and found out that you are an eminent scholar,” the Iranian statement quoted Imran Khan as telling Raisi.

Imran Khan also voiced concerns over the continuation of the war in Afghanistan, underlining that “we are concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and its involvement in a longstanding war.”

He described the political solution as the best solution to Afghanistan but said it is difficult to achieve this solution in the current situation.

In this telephone conversation, Ayatollah Raisi, while expressing gratitude for the phone call and congratulatory message of the people and the government of Pakistan, described the intertwined ties between the two nations and the wide and diverse capacities of the two countries as a suitable platform for promoting cooperation in various fields.

Ayatollah Raisi called the success of the friendly government and brotherly nation of Pakistan the success of the government and the people of Iran and added that “mutual trust” and “synergistic reliance” between the countries of the region are the two main pillars of stability and endurance of neighborly relations.

The president-elect said, “In economic diplomacy, the new government views all the economic potential of its neighbors as valuable opportunities for cooperation, and therefore no economic potential is neglected.”

Raisi said achieving “sustainable security” was possible only through the participation of countries in the region, adding that experience has shown that foreigners sow the seeds of insecurity and institutionalize instability under the pretext of creating security.

The president-elect called Palestine the symbol of the convergence of the Islamic world and described the effective and continuous defense of the oppressed nation of Palestine as the guarantor of “the stability of regional security.”

Ayatollah Raisi also expressed concern over the situation in Afghanistan and said, “Afghanistan's security is important to us and this security must be established by Afghans.”

Afghanistan has become an issue of concern for both Tehran and Islamabad as the conflict there worsened in the wake of foreign troops' withdrawal. In recent weeks, Iran intensified its diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions in war-torn Afghanistan. To this end, a number of Iranian diplomats traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

In late June, the Iranian foreign minister's special envoy for Afghanistan traveled to Kabul and left the Afghan capital for Islamabad for talks with Pakistani officials on the latest security developments in Afghanistan and then returned to Kabul again to resume his meetings with the country's political and defense officials.

In his meetings with Afghan officials, Mohammad-Ebrahim Taherian presented a report on his talks with Pakistani officials, and conferred with Afghan authorities and figures on the achievement of peaceful solutions to the ongoing crisis and prevent the outbreak of a civil war in the country, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

The Iranian diplomat had met with Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, before heading to Pakistan. During these meetings, the current developments in Afghanistan were discussed and the two sides stressed the need to continue consultations in this regard. It is worth mentioning that Taherian paid a visit to Islamabad at the invitation of Mohammad Sadegh Khan, the special envoy of the Prime Minister of Pakistan for Afghanistan.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran was closely following developments in Afghanistan.

“Closely following alarming developments in Afghanistan. Iran calls for immediate de-escalation, respect for rule of law, & inclusive dialogue. Destructive policies of the U.S. have had lingering consequences in our region & now its utterly irresponsible conduct is taking a toll,” Khatibzadeh said on Twitter.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a trilateral meeting with his Turkish and Afghan counterparts during his stay in the Turkish resort city of Antalya.

The foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan called for active participation of the three countries in the Afghan peace process and fight against terrorism in the region.

Zarif and his Turkish and Afghan counterparts, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Mohammad Haneef Atmar, issued the call during their trilateral meeting in Antalya.

During the meeting, agreements were made on transit ties with Afghanistan through Iran and on economic cooperation with Kabul.

The Iranian, Turkish and Afghan foreign ministers issued a joint final statement at the end of their meeting.

In Antalya, Zarif held several meetings with current and former Afghan officials in a bid to understand the situation in Afghanistan. In his meeting with Atmar, Zarif reiterated Tehran’s preparedness to effectively contribute to the enhancement of solidarity in Afghanistan.

The top Iranian diplomat underlined the necessity of cooperation among all Afghan political groups to return security and stability to the country.

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