Tehran, Kabul to Conclude Coop. Compact in 3 Months

Tehran, Kabul to Conclude Coop. Compact in 3 Months
Tehran, Kabul to Conclude Coop. Compact in 3 Months

Iranian and Afghan senior diplomats agreed to speed up the process of finalizing the comprehensive compact for cooperation between the two neighbors. 
“We agreed to prepare the comprehensive document to be signed in a short time, within three months,” Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said during his visit to Kabul on Thursday. 
He said the cooperation deal was expected to be concluded in less than a year when negotiations started, but the process has dragged on for nearly five years now.
According to Araqchi, when finalized, the document has to be signed by the presidents of the two countries. 
“This cooperation is far more valuable than a mere document … It marks Iran’s support for the Afghan government and the ongoing talks led and owned by it to bring about peace in this country,” he said. 
The diplomat said peace talks in Afghanistan should be conducted with the participation of various Afghan groups, including the Taliban, that deserve a fair share of power in the government within the framework of the constitution.   
He stressed, however, that Iran would not interfere in such affairs, as it believes that the ultimate decision-makers are the government and people of Afghanistan.
“Our goal is to improve the areas of cooperation through the comprehensive deal,” he said. 



Five Committees 

Five committees have been set up to draw up the document, namely the economic, cultural, defense-security, citizens and water committees, Araqchi said. 
“Work at the cultural, citizens and water committees have been concluded, but consultations are still underway in the other two committees,” he said. 
Iran and Afghanistan share the transboundary waters of Hirmand and Harirud rivers that have been a matter of dispute over the years. 
Araqchi stressed that both sides should benefit from the waters and the issue of water should become an area of cooperation rather than conflict.
“Common occupations should be created between the two countries and the shared products should be utilized by both sides. This is our general view in the comprehensive document,” he said. 
As neighbors with long borders, the two countries face common security threats that, the deputy minister said, need a common approach to address them.  
Araqchi hoped that the defense-security agreement would help the two neighbors cement their ties as two allies that seek peaceful relations.
Several major principles are included in the document, including non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs.
“The other principle is non-aggression, meaning neither of the two countries will intrude on the other’s territories, nor allow its soil to be used against the other one,” he said.    
“It is also emphasized that the two countries should not join any coalition or treaty with a third party against the other side.” 
The deputy minister said combating terrorism and drug smuggling are among other issues included in the document.
Araqchi traveled to Kabul at the top of a high-ranking delegation on Wednesday to pursue agreements made during the Afghan interim foreign minister, Hanif Atmar, visit to Tehran last month, including the comprehensive cooperation document. 
Over the two days, he met with Atmar, as well as Afghan Economy Minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal and the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah. 

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