Zarif Stresses Unwavering upport for Afghan Peace

Zarif Stresses Unwavering upport for Afghan Peace Zarif Stresses Unwavering upport for Afghan Peace

Iran’s foreign minister expressed the country’s willingness to continue its assistance to the neighboring Afghanistan in its pursuit of peace and stability.  
“Iran is ready to continue to help the people and government of Afghanistan in its quest for peace and cooperate with all with the same objective,” Mohammed Javad Zarif also said at Geneva talks on Afghanistan held Tuesday and Wednesday.   
Afghanistan has been grappling with a raging civil war and insecurity resulting from militant activity and a weak administration for nearly two decades. 
The recent ministerial meeting was the second of three conferences aimed at showing the solidarity of the international community with the Afghan people and government in their efforts for peace and prosperity, the website of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported. 
It also offered an opportunity to emphasize the importance of the development and reform agenda and the need to advance it as a constructive contribution to peace and security.
In his speech, Zarif censured the presence of foreign forces in the region and stressed that domestic and regional cooperation is essential to the success of peace talks. 


Call for Intra-Afghan Dialogue 

“The presence of foreign forces has never brought stability in our region and historically provided a recruiting ground for extremists,” he said, calling on the participants to help facilitate intra-Afghan dialogue. 
The government of Afghanistan has taken the initiative to launch negotiations on peace with the Taliban, a prominent faction involved in the long-drawn-out Afghan civil war that was overthrown by the American-led invasion in 2001. 
However, the Taliban have refused to deal directly with the Kabul government, describing it a “powerless and foreign-imposed entity”.
Zarif urged the international community to help bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the government for “inclusive and comprehensive talks”. 
“There is national, regional and global consensus that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, and the time has come for national reconciliation and an inclusive political solution in Afghanistan, owned and led by the Afghan government and people,” he was quoted as saying by the Foreign Ministry’s official portal. 
He also applauded the achievements of the Afghan people over the past two decades, particularly in framing the constitution of Afghanistan and starting the democratic process, which are the foundations for peace and stability.
The top Iranian diplomat further warned of the rise of the self-styled Islamic State terror group in Afghanistan, which has only led to more bloodshed and dangerous sectarian tendencies.  
“As no one gained from introducing and supporting Daesh [IS] and other extremists in Syria and Iraq, no one will gain from introducing them to Afghanistan and Central Asia,” he said, emphasizing that the horrific trend needs to be stopped before it reaches catastrophic levels.
Zarif pointed to drug trafficking as a source of menace in the resource-rich country, which be tackled through a comprehensive strategy, including economic development.
Connectivity, according to him, is key to development and Iran’s sea and rail links such as Chabahar Port are essential for this progress. 
“It is regrettable that unlawful unilateral sanctions impede cooperation,” he said. 
The first pledging conference on Afghanistan was held in Brussels in 2016, in which $15.2 billion were committed by the international community. The third meeting is expected in 2020.

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