President Raisi will inaugurate conference on Afghanistan

Tehran summit intended to find ‘Afghan solution’ for Afghanistan

October 26, 2021 - 21:20

TEHRAN — The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that the conference on Afghanistan in Tehran on Wednesday is aimed to find solutions to the problems facing the country based on “Afghan solution”.

President Ebrahim Raisi will inaugurate the meeting which will be attended by the foreign ministers of six countries neighboring Afghanistan. Russia will also participate in the conference.

Foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan arrived in Tehran on Tuesday. 

Saeed Khatibzadeh, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters that the foreign ministers of China and Russia will address the conference virtually.   However, he said, the special representatives of these two countries will attend the conference in-person.

He added, "Foreign ambassadors based in Tehran have been invited and then profound discussions will be raised, and we expect this meeting to continue for a few hours and then we will try to reach a conclusion on a joint statement."

Khatibzadeh also reiterated Tehran’s position that the current rulers of Afghanistan should pay attention to the will of the people. 

"The summit is formed with the main goal of joint efforts of Afghanistan's neighbors.”

He noted that the Tehran meeting is intended to help resolve problems facing Afghanistan based on “Afghan solution” and that Afghanistan's neighbors would work together to help bring lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan. 

The meeting is the continuation of a previous one held virtually in which the foreign ministers “agreed on the basic principles for the future of Afghanistan based on the will of the people of Afghanistan." 

The virtual summit agreed to focus on an inclusive government in Afghanistan, a government in which one can only think of a “stable Afghanistan that is part of an inclusive regional cooperation arrangement,” the spokesman noted. 

The foreign ministry official also said: "It seems that the people of Afghanistan want a government that reflects the current demographic and ethnic composition of Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been by the side of the Afghan people for the past four decades, both during the resistance in Afghanistan and after it, and even during the occupation, and made every effort to be an effective actor and as a neighbor to the people of this country."

Iran supported the Afghan Mujaheddin in their resistance against the Soviets in the 1980s. 

He added Iran has been hosting nearly four million Afghan citizens as “dear guests” who live and study along with Iranian citizens in different cities in Iran.
"Of course,” he added, “recent developments in Afghanistan have created a new wave of asylum seekers, and displaced people, which amid all the economic pressures and hardships that Iran is suffering due to U.S. unilateral sanctions, has created new difficulties for the Islamic Republic."

Naturally, all international organizations and institutions that have direct responsibility for the situation of the displaced people are obliged to act responsibly, and fulfil their responsibility vis-à-vis host countries such as Iran, which has the largest population of Afghan refugees, he suggested.

They should help and provide the necessary assistance that they have not done so far, or have done very little, the diplomat highlighted.

A senior UN official has warned that millions of Afghans, including children, could die of starvation unless urgent action is taken to pull Afghanistan back from the brink of collapse, Al Jazeera reported on Monday. 

The World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley told Reuters news agency that 22.8 million people – more than half of Afghanistan’s 39 million population – were facing acute food insecurity and “marching to starvation” compared with 14 million just two months ago.

Afghanistan is witnessing economic and social problems today, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said, stressing that the Afghan people in particular are under a lot of economic pressure. 

In such a situation, Khatibzadeh said, Iran has tried to reduce the economic hardship of the Afghan people and has not reduced or cut trade and economic relations.

Khatibzadeh added, "What we are witnessing today in Afghanistan is accompanied by concerns…, and at the same time there are hopes. We hope to see a comprehensive mechanism inside Afghanistan with the help of all responsible countries and without foreign interference." 

The foreign ministry says the conference is clearly sending a message to Afghanistan that it cannot be a place for violence, terrorism and extremism. 
He went on to say that a political mechanism that meets the will of the Afghan people through an inclusive government will not only have the support of the people, but also the support of the international community, including neighbors.

The spokesman said the security of Afghan people and their rights are Iran's first priority.

Khatibzadeh said: "We told the current governing body of Afghanistan to do their best to act as a responsible governing body and to provide the necessary political, economic and security conditions. Unfortunately, there are very serious concerns about the growth of terrorism and violence and extremism in Afghanistan. The bombings and terrorist acts in various cities of Afghanistan, including Kunduz and Kandahar, are very worrying."
No side can accept that Afghanistan is going backward politically, socially and economically or that the security situation is worsening, the foreign ministry spokesman said.

Khatibzadeh noted: "Efforts will be made to help the people of Afghanistan get through this transition period safely with the help of everyone. The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a responsible actor, has tried to be a responsible companion. While preventing and rejecting foreign interference and respecting the territorial integrity, independence and will of the Afghan people, it is also trying to enable the Afghan people to achieve what they believe and want.”

The purpose of the Tehran summit

Regarding the purpose of the Tehran summit and its message, Khatibzadeh stated: "The summit is formed with the main goal of joint efforts of Afghanistan's neighbors. The Tehran summit will be a forum for participation and cooperation, and it conveys the message that instead of competing, all of Afghanistan's neighbors are looking for collaboration and cooperation for Afghanistan's future."

The diplomat underlined that of course, no country, including Afghanistan's neighbors, had the right to decide for the future of Afghanistan.

"Of course, our role is to facilitate and clarify the things that the Afghan governing body must respect in the future. We are trying to establish a common understanding… that the international community and neighboring countries have a collective opinion. We will try to make these ideas clear in the (final) statement."

Khatibzadeh added that the conference is also clearly sending a message to Afghanistan that it cannot be a place for violence, terrorism and extremism. 

Afghanistan must also be free of violence and terror, be calm and stable, and be a partner for regional cooperation, he said.

The spokesman further stated that the message of Tehran summit is that the people of Afghanistan will embrace a government that reflects their will and their ethnic and demographic composition. 

"The Tehran summit seeks to show that solution to the Afghan problem is something that we should all be looking for: comprehensive and inclusive inter-Afghan dialogue aimed at reaching a mutually satisfactory solution."

Khatibzadeh also said: "The UN secretary general will send a message to this meeting and will announce his support for this initiative and the efforts of neighboring countries, including Iran. All this shows that Tehran will be a venue of active diplomacy in the region, with the help of the countries of the region to solve the problem of Afghanistan today."

About how to address the root causes of problems in Afghanistan in order to prevent similar incidents in the region, he said: "What we see as a catastrophic and scandalous U.S. escape from Afghanistan after two decades of occupation and violence in Afghanistan led to nothing but the destruction of Afghanistan’s social, political or security foundations. Many agree that it is one of the main roots of the current situation in Afghanistan."

The spokesman went on to say that the United States left Afghanistan even without proper consultation with its allies. 

On whether representatives from the ruling Taliban would attend the meeting in Tehran, Khatibzadeh said that the mechanism of the conference is to take action based on consensus. 

"We had requests from various parties inside and outside Afghanistan to attend the summit, and we also had requests from international actors from Europe, but since all decisions in this mechanism are based on consensus, all requests will be sent to Iran and based on the outcome of the talks regarding some of these requests at the next meeting, which will probably be in Beijing, proper decisions will be taken."


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