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Iranian, Afghan presidents review expansion of cooperation

Tehran, Jan 26, IRNA -- Visiting Afghan president Hamid Karzai and his high ranking entourage conferred in Tehran on Wednesday with President Mohammad Khatami on expansion of mutual relations.

According to Presidential Bureau, the meeting between the two sides' high ranking delegation was co-chaired by the Iranian and Afghan presidents.

photo: ISNA

The Islamic Republic of Iran seeks promotion of ties with the Afghan government and its nation, Khatami said and called for restoration of peace and security to the war-shattered country.

Referring to years of conflicts in Afghanistan, he expressed satisfaction with the upcoming presidential elections in the country and said Afghanistan can turn into a safe place in the region.

"We respect the efforts of the Afghan government and nation towards the development and prosperity of their country," Khatami said.

All ethnic and political groups should contribute to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, he said adding that attaining this goal depends on the convergence and solidarity among all groups and factions.

photo: ISNA

Expressing satisfaction with formation of democratic government in Afghanistan, he called on the international community to fulfill its commitments on reconstruction of the country in order to compensate the sufferings of the Afghan nation.

Afghanistan should find its desirable status on the international scene, he said adding that the Afghan government and its nation could prepare the grounds for development of the country.

By relying on its own natural resources and work forces Afghanistan would be able to handle its own affairs.

The Afghan government should be a source of friendship, stability and tranquility in the region, he said.

Kabul should pay due attention to the issue of drug trafficking in the country, he said adding that the international community should shoulder more responsibility to this end.

"We warmly welcome expansion of cooperation between the two countries and consider the opening of the Dogharoun-Herat road as manifestation of the two sides' determinations to broaden mutual ties," he said.

The Afghan president, for his part, highlighted the two sides' cultural and historical commonalties and said "We never forget Iran's support for and hospitality towards the Afghan people over the past 30 years."

Tehran played a very significant role in the country's reconstruction era and the Afghan nation owes its independence to the assistance rendered by countries like the Islamic Republic of Iran, he said.

Highlighting the country's infrastructural programs, he said "We appreciate Iran's assistance and efforts and call for continuation of such cooperation."

The recent presidential election in Afghanistan has opened the door for political freedom, freedom of press and speech as well as economic development, he said.

Calling the role of Iran and Afghanistan in the transit of goods and promotion of trade among Central Asian states as very significant, he said restoration of stability and security to Afghanistan would be to the benefit of the Afghan people as well as its neighbors.

"We are proud of our friendship with the Iranian nation and welcome expansion of cooperation with the country's public and private sectors to help expedite the development of Afghanistan," he pointed out.

Iranian minister of Interior Abdolvahed Moussavi Lari, Energy Minister Habibollah Bitaraf and Minister of Economy Safdar Hosseini were also present in the meeting.

Karzai, heading a high-ranking political and economic delegation, arrived here Wednesday for a two-day official visit.

During his stay in Iran, he is to hold talks with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, President Mohammad Khatami and several other senior officials.

This is Karzai's first visit to Iran since he took office as elected president.

The Iranian and Afghan presidents will officially inaugurate the 122-kilometer Dogharoun-Herat road on Thursday which has been reconstructed by Iran in the past two years at a cost of 60 million dollars.

The Iranian embassy in Kabul earlier announced that the two presidents will officially inaugurate the newly completed 132-kilowatt power transmission line from Torbat-e Jam in northeastern Iran to the western Afghan city of Herat as well as eight border stations constructed by Iran in Afghanistan's Herat, Nimruz and Farah provinces on Thursday.

The total cost of the transmission line project stands at 13.8 million dollars.

... Payvand News - 1/26/05 ... --

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