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Iran’s Will to Expand Ties With Afghanistan Highlighted

Iran’s Will to Expand Ties With Afghanistan Highlighted Iran’s Will to Expand Ties With Afghanistan Highlighted

President Hassan Rouhani underlined Iran’s determination to expand relations with Afghanistan in a phone conversation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday.
“Iran’s will is focused on expanding relations with Afghanistan in all sectors by virtue of our shared historical and cultural backgrounds, and on strengthening ties by using the economic, trade and transit capacities of the two countries,” he said, President.ir reported. 
He also hoped that Tehran-Kabul comprehensive cooperation document would be finalized soon. 
The document was prepared around five years ago and covers political, security, economic, cultural and social fields. 
Top diplomats of the two countries agreed to finalize the document in three months during an Afghan delegation’s visit to Tehran in late June. 
“If conditions arising from the spread of the coronavirus disease allow, we can hold an important in-person meeting in the coming months, and while signing the cooperation document in Tehran, also launch the Khaf-Herat railroad, marking two historical events in the two sides’ long list of friendly collaborations,” Rouhani said. 
The 220-km-long railroad connects the city of Khaf in Iran’s northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province to Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city. Some 80 kilometers of the railroad are located inside Iran and the remaining 140 km stretch from the common border to Herat.
The project is part of Iran-Afghanistan rail corridor launched in 2007. Besides the parts located within its borders, Iran is committed to the construction of 60 kilometers of the Afghan segment.
Rouhani also vowed to assist Afghanistan in its response to Covid-19 pandemic. 
“Iran will stand by the Afghan people and government in the fight against coronavirus and spare no effort in this regard,” he said. 

 

 

Afghan Peace Process

The president expressed satisfaction over the temporary ceasefire in Afghanistan, hoping this would persist and lead to a reduction of violence. 
Afghanistan’s Taliban militants announced a three-day ceasefire for the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha starting Friday, offering some respite from weeks of increasing violence.
It is the Taliban's first ceasefire since the government they ran was toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion.
Earlier in February, the Taliban signed a deal with the United States in the Qatari capital Doha under which they agreed to engage in peace talks with an Afghan government-mandated committee. 
However, disagreements over a prisoner exchange and violence have delayed peace negotiations. 
“Iran has always supported a peace process led by the Afghan government and we hope intra-Afghan dialogue between the legal government and all political groups of Afghanistan [including] the Taliban on the basis of the constitution will bear fruit,” Rouhani said. 
Ghani thanked Iran for its support of Afghanistan, including health services offered to Afghan immigrants during the Covid-19 outbreak. 
He said private sectors in both countries have recognized the methods of cooperation. 
“Chabahar Port is booming at a favorable pace and I hope Iran-Afghanistan economic ties will further improve, thanks to this capacity,” he said. 
The port, run by India Ports Global Limited, is located on Iran’s coast along the Sea of Oman and is being developed to provide an alternative trade route between India and Afghanistan.
Ghani also hoped Iran’s support for the peace process will lead to better security conditions not only for the Afghan nation, but also the whole region.

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