Iran supports stability, security in Afghanistan

Islamabad, Dec 9, IRNA – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran welcomes strengthening of stability, peace and security in Afghanistan and is ready to expand bilateral cooperation with its eastern neighboring country.

He made the remarks in a meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani here on Tuesday which was held on the sidelines of the conference Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process with the aim of helping settlement of Afghanistan’s problems.

‘The Islamic Republic of Iran has always supported the national solidarity government in Afghanistan and it will continue its support,’ he said.

Zarif referred to the decree issued by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on enrolment in Iranian schools of more than 300,000 Afghan students whose parents had entered Iran illegally.

‘This shows the depth of cooperation between the two neighboring countries,’ Zarif added.

Rabbani thanked Iran for its support to the national security government in Afghanistan and its participation in the conference calling for expansion of bilateral ties especially in economic and anti-terrorism and anti-extremism areas.

Prior to the meeting with his Afghan counterpart, Zarif met advisor to Pakistan’s prime minister in foreign affairs and Tajikistan’s foreign minister on the sidelines of the conference.

The 2-day conference (ministerial level) is to open on Wednesday and representatives from more than 40 member and supporter countries as well as more than 10 international and regional bodies.

Foreign Ministers of Iran, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are attending the conference.

Representatives from Russia as well as a US deputy secretary of state are also participating in the event.

Heart of Asia has 14 member states including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Russia, India, Azerbaijan Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The supporter countries include the US, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Finland, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Britain.

Because Turkey was one of initiators of the conference, the conference is also known as Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process.