Iran, Iraq stress formation of inclusive government in Afghanistan

April 15, 2022 - 21:44

TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian hosted a high-ranking Iraqi delegation led by Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein on Wednesday afternoon. Later, Amir Abdollahian and Fuad Hussein held a joint press conference in which they insisted on the need for formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

During the meeting, the status of bilateral ties, regional developments and some issues of mutual interest at the international level including the situation in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine were discussed.

Amir Abdollahian said strengthening trade ties with Iraq is an important priority of the two countries and underlined issues such as facilitation of trade exchanges at border crossings, uninterrupted transportation and finalization of the Basra-Shalamcheh railway.

He also reiterated the need to ease travels by the two countries’ pilgrims.

In this regard, Amir Abdollahian called for facilitation of the Iranian pilgrims’ travel to holy sites in Iraq via land borders.

Amir Abdollahian also said Iran cannot accept facing threats by the United States and Israel as well as terrorist and separatist elements and seeing its security undermined through its borders.

For his part, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hussein described the relations between Iran and Iraq as intertwined and called Iran a faithful neighbor. 

He added that Iraq continues to play its constructive role in helping restore peace to the region and tries to strengthen the role of talks among regional countries.

During the conversation, Hussein reiterated that the security of Iran and Iraq are interconnected and Iraq does not allow any threat against neighboring countries from its soil.

Other issues were also discussed during the meeting such as new developments in the Vienna talks intended to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. The expansion of ties between Iran and Persian Gulf countries was also discussed.

Later, the two held a joint press conference. In the first part of the presser, the two foreign ministers briefed reporters about what had happened during their meeting. 

Amir Abdollahian told reporters that the two top diplomats discussed various issues and above all, they discussed bilateral issues.

“Among the issues that were discussed regarding bilateral discussions were the importance of the abolition of land visas between the two countries and we hope that in the near future, given the gap between the two countries caused due to the coronavirus crisis, we should be able to expand the flow of citizens of the two countries across land borders,” Amir Abdollahian explained.

The tourism industry between the two countries can play a very important role in the development of relations as much as possible, Iran’s top diplomat asserted. 

Amir Abdollahian continued by saying that he hopes that the Iraqi side will seriously pursue this issue so that in the future, and the citizens of the two countries will be able to travel to each of the provinces of the two countries via personal cars with their families.

He added that the deep, strategic, and privileged relations between the two countries are in a situation where Tehran and Baghdad can expand relations in various fields in the coming months.

The foreign minister stated, “In the last 7 months, the volume of trade exchanges and cooperation between the two countries has increased four and a half times as much as the same period of the past.”

He then went on to thank the Iraqi government for “creating a regional understanding.”

Amir Abdollahian stressed the importance of regional talks.

“We appreciated the constructive efforts of the Iraqi government, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to resume talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” Iran’s top diplomat noted. 

He then expressed hope that the West Asia region will see more stability, security, progress and prosperity. 

“Regarding the developments in Yemen, independence and the establishment of a temporary ceasefire in this country, we emphasized the importance of lifting the humanitarian siege and the Yemeni talks, as well as the continuation of ceasefire,” Amir Abdollahian noted. 

Iran’s foreign minister added that in the shadow of the ceasefire, the complete lifting of the humanitarian siege and talks with all Yemeni parties, without any foreign intervention, the Yemeni people will be able to make the best of their destiny for the future. 

Regarding Syria, Amir Abdollahian expressed Tehran’s opposition to the fact that part of the country's territory is occupied by military bases without coordination with the central government.

“We believe that it is the Syrian people who should decide about the future of their own country,” he elaborated. 

“Formation of an inclusive government the only way Iran recognizes Taliban”

In the press briefing, Amir Abdollahian added that the last discussion was about Afghanistan.

"We both support the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of all ethnic groups in Afghanistan," he said.

Amir Abdollahian stressed that on Monday, an unfortunate incident took place in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul and the Consulate General in Herat.

He continued, “On Wednesday, a large number of people and political groups of Afghanistan tried to portray the common enemies of the two nations by presenting flowers to our staff and placing flowers to Iranian diplomatic buildings and diplomatic places in Afghanistan by appearing in front of the missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Common enemies of Iran and Afghanistan will not be able to conspire to cause problems and insecurity on common issues and in relations between the two countries.”

Amir Abdollahian said that Iran still considers the recognition of the interim governing body of Afghanistan conditional on the formation of an inclusive government in the country.

It was agreed to unfreeze some of Iran’s frozen assets

In response to a question about the news about the release of Iran’s foreign exchange resources in a foreign bank, Amir Abdollahian said, “An agreement has been reached with a foreign bank to release our frozen assets. A delegation from a neighboring country came to Iran on Tuesday and we held talks with the officials of the Central Bank (of Iran), the Ministry of Economy and the Foreign Ministry, and we reached an agreement on when and how to release these funds.”

Hussein says Iran and Iraq’s national security interlinked 

After Amir Abdollahian, Iraq’s foreign minister briefed the reporters.

Hussein thanked Iran’s top diplomat for his hospitality and warm welcome, saying, “As always, we had an important meeting that we talked about in the frankest way. At the beginning of the talks, we discussed bilateral issues, including trade and economic relations.”

Hussein reiterated that the two countries have the issue of pilgrimage to the holy shrines on the agenda on a regular basis, and in these talks, facilitating pilgrimage for Iranians was negotiated.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of Iranian and Iraqi citizens visited holy shrines in both Iraq and Iran.

The Iraqi foreign minister added, “Another issue was about bilateral issues as well as security issues.” 

“Security in Iran and Iraq is related to security in the region”

Iraq’s chief diplomat also said, “The national security of Iran and Iraq is related to the security of the region. When we have dialogue with a friendly and neighboring country like Iran, it means that the security of Iran and Iraq are related to each other and the security of the region.” he said.

Hussein added that Iran and Iraq are two neighbors that have economic, social, cultural, and historical relations with each other.

“When there is a security problem, we have to find a way to solve it,” he said, stating that the doors are open for talks in Baghdad.
He then expressed hope that these doors will be open for talks in Tehran as well, so that the two countries can have intensive talks on security issues.

“We have to speak openly”

“It is clear that our Iranian brothers have some issues or complaints about some security issues,” he said. “We have spoken very frankly in conversations and we have to speak openly about issues and, of course, resolve them through diplomacy and dialogue.”

Iraq’s top diplomat added that Baghdad agrees with Tehran on one issue in particular, and that is the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.
“This government should include all ethnic groups and parties in Afghanistan. Afghanistan needs stability,” he noted.

He also welcomed the establishment of ceasefire in Yemen, expressing hope that the talks will continue in order to establish a peaceful solution which could lead to a durable security for the Yemeni people as well as the region. 

“Instability in Syria will have negative impact on Iraq”

The Iraqi foreign minister stated, “The situation of stability in Iraq is also influential in Syria, and the instability in Syria will have a negative impact on the security situation in Iraq. We agree with the Iranian side that Syria should be helped to achieve security and independence.”

When asked about the timing of the resumption of Iran-Saudi Arabia talks, he said, “Tehran-Riyadh talks are underway, but were suspended for some time. We hope that the next round of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia will be held soon.”

Hussein added, “It is clear that the talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been conducted by the security officials of the two sides and representatives of the foreign ministries. I hope that the next meeting will be held soon.”

However, he added, “We cannot talk about the timing of the next meeting, I personally hope we can get to the next stage of the talks and move from closed and secret talks to public and political talks, the situation, especially after the ceasefire in Yemen, has taken another turn.”

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