Afghan President Invited to Visit

Afghan President Invited to Visit

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on Tuesday and submitted President Hassan Rouhani's invitation to him for an official visit to Tehran.

Zarif also held a meeting with Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah on the same day, in which he said the stability and development of Afghanistan are of high "strategic importance" to Iran.

Zarif noted, "Iran is pleased with the support it provided to the Afghan government and nation during the reconstruction era and formation of the national unity government, since we regard the development and stability of Afghanistan as our own, which are strategically important to us," Fars news agency reported.  

The minister stressed that Iran has never intervened in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and it will not do so in the future on the basis of its principled policy, emphasizing, "We have been always seeking stability in Afghanistan."

After his meeting with Abdullah, Zarif told reporters, "I am happy to be here on this good day (that is the day that) cabinet members of the national unity government were introduced to parliament for votes of confidence with the presence of two old friends of Iran, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah."

The senior diplomat said, "Today is the day that all Afghan people feel they are part of the government," adding that he sees a brilliant future for Afghanistan.

Zarif referred to extremism and terrorism as two common challenges facing Iran and Afghanistan which have presented a threat to the whole region and the world, adding that disrespecting religious sanctities adds fuel to the flames of extremism and violence, referring to a cartoon recently published by the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo depicting the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), a move which outraged Muslims around the world.

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Abdullah, for his part, said, "Iran as a key player in (affairs related to) Afghanistan is our trustworthy friend."

The chief executive officer referred to Tehran-Kabul relations and said, "The areas for cooperation and continued cordial and brotherly relations between the two countries were discussed (in the meeting with Zarif)."

Abdullah went on to say that since the early formation of the new Afghan government, Iran has been standing by Afghanistan and assisting in the reconstruction of the country.

The Afghan official also said he discussed with the Iranian minister the Afghan president's imminent visit to Iran and a comprehensive cooperation agreement between the two neighboring states.

In a separate development and before his meeting with Abdullah, the foreign minister conferred with the UN secretary-general's special representative to Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, Fars news agency reported.

The foreign minister also held discussions with Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar.  

The foreign minister arrived in Kabul on Tuesday for a one-day visit to hold talks with Afghan officials on bilateral ties and regional issues.


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