Iran says it supports intra-Afghan peace talks

Press TV – Iran says it supports all forms of peace talks among various Afghan groups, urging regional and international assistance towards the resolution of the Central Asian country’s security and economic woes.

Addressing a Security Council debate on Afghanistan on Thursday, Iran’s UN envoy Gholam-Ali Khoshrou said the Islamic Republic “backs all kinds of reconciliatory Afghan-Afghan talks towards achieving peace. In this context, we welcomed participation in the Kabul Process and similar procedures towards achieving peace and security in Afghanistan.”

The Kabul Process held its first session in June 2017, and the second one on February 28. Dozens of international delegates, including representative from Iran, partook in both editions.

The second conference saw Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offering the Taliban militant group to join direct talks with Kabul.

Addressing a Thursday Security Council session that renewed the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)’s mandate for another year, the UN’s Afghanistan envoy Tadamichi Yamamoto urged the Taliban to seize on the opportunity.

“The offer of negotiation is on the table,” Yamamoto said. “It is now incumbent upon the Taliban to come forward with an offer of their own, and start direct talks with the government to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people.”

The last round of peace talks between the militants and the Afghan government was held in 2005, but broke down soon afterwards. Ever since, the Taliban have rejected the notion of renewing talks with Kabul, saying they would only sit at the negotiation table with the United States.

Khoshrou further said the promotion of regional cooperation with Afghanistan is “a priority and an important step towards the reinforcement of peace and the enhancement of the overall economic situation in the region.”

Iran, he added, has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees over the previous decades.

The country has also executed more than 300 development projects worth more than USD 500 million to help strengthen Afghanistan’s infrastructure, Khoshru said.

Khoshrou further said Afghanistan’s national unity government is at the forefront of fighting terrorism, calling on the international community to stand by the Kabul government in this battle besides helping it overcome its political and economic problems.