Senior Iranian diplomat meets with Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator

A senior Iranian diplomat has met with Afghanistan’s leading peace envoy during a visit to Kabul, discussing the Central Asian nation’s ongoing struggle towards peace among other issues.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and head of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah met in the Afghan capital on Saturday.

The Islamic Republic changelessly supports realization of peace and stability in its neighbor, which has been embroiled in decades of Taliban militancy and military interference by the United States and its allies to purportedly uproot the militants.

Accordingly, Tehran has been closely following peace talks between Kabul and the militants that have been going on since September 12 in the Qatari capital Doha, where the Taliban maintains a representative office. It has lauded the two sides’ willingness to engage in negotiations.

Araqchi and Abdullah likewise addressed whatever progress that might have been made in the negotiations, the Islamic Republic’s role in bringing about peace to Afghanistan and other bilateral issues.

The Afghan official used the opportunity to appreciate Tehran’s cooperation with Kabul and its support for the peace process.

Also on Saturday, Araqchi met with Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab and National Security Advisor Hamdollah Moheb.

Potential conclusion of a comprehensive long-term cooperation agreement between Iran and Afghanistan as well as further development of the two sides’ political, economic, and trade ties were among other subject matters that came up during Araqchi’s discussions with Afghan officials.

The Afghan deputy top diplomat, meanwhile, expressed gratitude on the part of Kabul for the Islamic Republic’s years-long efforts towards accepting and accommodating Afghan refugees. He also congratulated the countries on the occasion of recent inauguration of a railway linking western Afghanistan and Iran.

Nab called the establishment of the rail link an important and essential step in development of bilateral relations.

Iran, Afghanistan to sign strategic agreement ‘soon’

Giving an interview to IRNA on the sidelines of the meetings, Araqchi hailed that the agreement establishing the manner of the countries’ strategic ties would be finalized “soon.”

The document comprises five parts, four of which have been agreed upon, he said, expressing hope that the outstanding segment pertaining to security affairs would likely be finalized during his visit.

“The document outlines the outlook of Iran and Afghanistan’s long-term relations and sets the principles governing them,” he said, stating that the agreement “plays an important role in strengthening the relations.”

Addressing Iran’s supportive attitude towards Afghanistan, Araqchi reminded that the Iranian government and people have invariably stood by the Afghan government and nation.

“This companionship shows that peace and security in Afghanistan translates into peace and security in Iran, and the Afghan people’s welfare and progress bears a direct relationship with that of the Iranian nation,” the official said, “This is a strategic reality.”

The Afghan people, themselves, admit that the troubles that have faced them over the past four decades have been a result of actions taken by countries other than the Islamic Republic, the Iranian diplomat said.

Iran suspects US intentions

Still speaking of the issue of foreign intervention in the violence-hit country, Araqchi said Iran seriously suspected the US’s intentions concerning the Afghan peace talks.

The intra-Afghan talks have to be partaken by Afghans themselves, he said, adding that Washington’s actions around the world have constantly featured “numerous mistakes and [instances of] ill-intention.” “One can hardly name a place,” where US interventions have produced favorable results.

The talks, he concluded, have to be characterized by a win-win equation, and result in “achievements” favoring all parties and eventually lead to peace.

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