Afghanistan seeks Iran help in stability efforts
Afghanistan called yesterday on neighbouring Iran to help the United States and other world powers in stabilising the violence-wracked nation.
"We definitely want the support and cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta told AFP on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).
Meanwhile Pakistan yesterday also urged neighbouring Iran to help the United States and other world powers in stabilising violence-wracked Afghanistan.
"I will speak to the Iranian foreign minister on this subject," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told AFP ahead of the ECO meet.
Qureshi described Iran as an "important regional player" and said it would be "useful" if it took part in an international meeting on Afghanistan due to be held on March 31.
"I would urge and request my Iranian friends to consider participating," he said.
Iran, which has close ethnic and religious ties with Afghanistan and opposes the Sunni Muslim extremist Taliban group, said it is considering attending.
The Afghan foreign Minister said, "We sincerely and honestly appreciate the participation of Iran in any international conference that helps stability in Afghanistan," he said referring to a meeting to be held on March 31 on the situation in Afghanistan.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that Iran would be invited to the meeting, in the latest overture by the administration of US President Barack Obama towards its arch-foe.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said at the ECO meeting that the "policy of occupation and interference by powers from outside the region has borne no results" in Iraq and Afghanistan.