Afghan Conflict Resolution Requires Inclusive Strategy

Afghan Conflict Resolution Requires Inclusive StrategyAfghan Conflict Resolution Requires Inclusive Strategy

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the settlement of Afghan conflict needs an "inclusive and comprehensive" strategy, underlining Iran's support for the Afghan people and government in their efforts to develop a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Zarif made the statement while addressing the Seventh Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia in Azerbaijan's capital Baku on Friday, IRNA reported.

The top Iranian diplomat said only military solutions cannot bring an end to instability in Afghanistan.

"Unless there is an inclusive strategy, lasting peace could not be achieved," he said.

Zarif warned of the alarming surge in extremist violence and a dramatic increase in drug production in Afghanistan.

The Iranian foreign minister said extremist groups such as the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, which have established a notable presence in Afghanistan and are spreading terror there, should be confronted through the collective cooperation of regional countries.

Zarif said regional governments should also work toward curbing the production of narcotics, a lifeline for terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan.

The top diplomat said working out an integrated strategy to turn "the war economy" in Afghanistan into a formal sustainable economy is inevitable.

Zarif said the development of Iran's southeastern port city of Chabahar is an important step for boosting prosperity in Afghanistan and the region.

Iran, India and Afghanistan signed a trilateral transit agreement on the development of Chabahar Port last year.

The first phase of Chabahar Port will become operational next Sunday.

"We invite other partners from the region and beyond to invest in the development of Chabahar and its related projects," he said.

The Heart of Asia format, or Istanbul process, was established in 2011 to provide a platform for discussing peace, security issues, political and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbors.

The conference, themed "Security and Economic Connectivity Towards a Strengthened Heart of Asia Region", saw ministers from as many as 40 countries in attendance.

Its 14 members include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the UAE.

On the sidelines of the conference, the top Iranian diplomat discussed bilateral relations and international developments in separate meetings with his Azeri and Pakistani counterparts, Elmar Mammadyarov and Khawaja Mohammad Asif, respectively.


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