Afghanistan seeks Iran help in stability efforts
Date of Publication : Tuesday 10 March 2009 08:07
March 9, 2009
TEHRAN – Afghanistan called on Monday on neighbouring Iran to help the United States and other world powers in stabilising the violence-wracked nation.
"We definitely want the support and cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta told AFP on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).
"We sincerely and honestly appreciate the participation of Iran in any international conference that helps stability in Afghanistan," he said referring to a meeting to be held on March 31 on the situation in Afghanistan.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that Iran would be invited to the meeting, in the latest overture by the administration of US President Barack Obama towards its arch-foe.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi echoed the Afghan call, describing Iran as an "important regional player" and said it would be "useful" if it took part in the March 31 conference.
"I would urge and request my Iranian friends to consider participating," he said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said at the ECO meeting that the "policy of occupation and interference by powers from outside the region has borne no results" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The presidents of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan are due to meet on Tuesday ahead of an ECO summit focusing on the global financial crisis, the Fars news agency reported.
ECO was founded in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey to address regional economic issues. Its members also include Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other regional countries.