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12/27/05

Karzai: Iran's help has contributed to Afghanistan development

Kabul, Dec 27, IRNA-Afghanistan's President Hamed Karzai in a meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister in Kabul said that the assistance rendered by Iran has helped Afghanistan to find its rightful place.

The Afghan government and nation are thankful for this help, he added.

In a meeting with visiting Iranian foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, the Afghan president referred to the relation between Afghanistan and its neighbors.

"Afghanistan wishes further progress and development of Iran and will not let anyone drive a wedge between the two Moslem neighbors," Karzai added.

He also referred to the many shortcomings in his country due to past three decades of conflict.

"We should draw assistance from Iran's experiences to boost the development drive in Afghanistan."

He accepted an invitation from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a visit to Tehran.

Mottaki said Tehran has put expansion of relations with its neighbors on its list of foreign policy priorities.

He also expressed satisfaction over the process of institutionalization of democracy underway in Afghanistan.

The two nations' officials are resolved to strengthen ties in all fields and "we believe that the capacities should be raised in all levels."

Expansion of mutual trade, joint investments legalization of border controls and expansion of judicial, legal and parliamentary relations are all among the factors upon which the two nations could forge closer ties, he said.

In the aftermath of the fall of the Taliban, Afghan ethnic groups signed a UN-sponsored deal in Bonn, Germany in December 1998 that paved the way for the establishment of the interim government headed by ethnic Pashtun tribal leader Hamid Karzai.

Election of an interim president for the provisional Afghan government, formation of the Loya Jirga (grand assembly) and election of members of the lower house of parliament and councils were the main features of the Bonn Agreement.

Rival factions in the Loya Jirga agreed later on a constitution, which paved the way for the first free elections held in the country after over two decades of war.

Karzai won the presidential election held in Nov 2004 by a landslide and was sworn in for a five-year term.

The election of a lower house of parliament and councils in each of the 34 provinces in Afghanistan last September was the last step toward establishing a stable and democratic government for the country under the Bonn Agreement.

... Payvand News - 12/27/05 ... --



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