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Tehran, Kabul Pledge to Expand Bilateral Ties.

Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi met with Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul where the two sides hailed the friendly ties between the two countries, and vowed further expansion of cooperation.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi says the Islamic Republic will continue to support the peace process and the promotion of democracy in Afghanistan.

"Three out of the five committees working on the document of joint comprehensive cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan have concluded their work, while the two others are finalizing their own," Araqchi said in a meeting with Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul on Saturday.

He expressed hope that the document will be finalized as soon as possible for the signing by the leaders of the two countries.

Araqchi further stressed the importance of boosting trade and economic cooperation between Tehran and Kabul.

In the meeting which took place in Sepidar Palace in Kabul, the two sides emphasized the historic and friendly relations between the two countries and announced the work is in progress to finalize the comprehensive cooperation document between Tehran and Kabul.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the Afghan government and the peace talks under the leadership of the Afghans," the Iranian diplomat added.

He also pointed to last month's negotiations between Iranian authorities and a delegation from the Taliban in Tehran and said the meeting took place in coordination with the Afghan government.

Abdullah, for his part, said Iran and Afghanistan enjoyed cordial and strong relations and added that his country supported efforts to finalize the document for joint cooperation.

He commended Iran's efforts to observe the principles of negotiations with terrorist groups and to inform the Afghan government of Tehran's talks with the Taliban.

He said the Afghan government supported peace but stressed the establishment of peace should not undermine the achievements made during recent years.

Last Monday, Iran confirmed talks with the Taliban to help the peace process, but meantime, stressed that negotiations with the Afghan group did not mean shared views or stances.

"A delegation from the Taliban was in Tehran yesterday and extensive talks were held at the foreign ministry with Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs (Seyed Abbas) Araqchi," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters in Tehran on Monday.

"The main goal of the negotiations is finding a solution and grounds to facilitate assistance to the talks between the Afghan groups and the government of this country to help the peace process in Afghanistan," he added.

Qassemi underlined that talks with the Taliban "do not necessarily mean that Iran's positions are similar to those of the group", and expressed the hope that negotiations could yield results for the Afghan nation and establish security and stability in the country.

He also emphasized that the Afghan government was informed of Iran's talks with the Taliban, and added, "We are not the only country which has held talks with the Taliban and many other states also have interactions with them."

His remarks came as the Pentagon acknowledged in December Iran's key role in restoring peace and stability to war-torn Afghanistan, backtracking on Washington's earlier claims that Tehran supports the local Taliban militant group.

"Iran seeks a stable Afghan government that is responsive to Iranian goals, the elimination of ISIS-K, the removal of the US/NATO presence, and the protection of Iranian concerns, such as water rights and border security," the US Department of Defense said in a report sent to Congress.

The Pentagon also admitted Iran's influence in Afghanistan, saying that Tehran pursues "a multitrack strategy" of engaging with the Afghan government and seeks to boost bilateral economic ties with Kabul.

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Publication:FARS News Agency
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jan 6, 2019
Words:631
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