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Iran accepts US invitation to attend Afghan meet

Source: Press TV

Tehran will attend a UN conference on the future of Afghanistan in The Hague upon a US invitation, a senior Iranian official confirms.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said on Thursday that Tehran favors a regional solution to the worsening security crisis in the war-torn country.

"Iran will participate ... The level of participation is not clear," Reuters quoted Qashqavi as saying Thursday.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who proposed the meeting, are set to attend the March 31 conference which will host delegates from more than 80 countries.

Tehran's confirmation came a day after Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters that delegates from Iran had given their word to attend the UN conference.

"Iran has given the signal that they will attend the conference but at which level and who will participate is not clear," Verhagen said.

The US, in an overture to Tehran, invited the country to attend the conference in which a new US policy on the war-torn country by President Barack Obama is to be unveiled.

Iran's participation is seen by analysts as a step toward reconciliation between Tehran and Washington which have not had diplomatic ties for nearly three decades.

Qashqavi said Iran, which neighbors Afghanistan, would also attend a separate meeting on the issue in Moscow this week.

A US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks on US soil allegedly to end the rule of the Taliban in the country.

However, after seven years later the rising violence in the war-ravaged country has prompted the new US administration to seek an end to the war.

Akhoundzadeh to represent Iran in Afghan conference in Moscow

Moscow, March 26, IRNA - Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific Affairs Mahdi Akhoundzadeh, heading a delegation, will attend the international conference on Afghanistan in Moscow under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Akhoundzadeh will take part in the meeting on an invitation extended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to investigate Afghan issues and contribute to the presentation of strategies to guarantee security and stability in the country.

Friday's conference will be attended by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and senior officials from the United States, the European Union, NATO and other international organizations.

The conference is organized by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Russia, China and the ex-Soviet Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

The group has served as a vehicle for Moscow and Beijing to limit the Western influence on the energy-rich Central Asia.

... Payvand News - 03/26/09 ... --

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