‘Continued engagement’ with Afghanistan agreed

FM Qureshi shares Islamabad’s perspective on neighbouring country with visiting Iranian deputy foreign minister


Our Correspondent October 06, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan and Iran on Tuesday agreed that continued economic engagement with Afghanistan is vital to avert humanitarian crises as well as economic collapse of a country that has seen decades of unrest and war.

The consensus was reached between the two sides during talks between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and visiting Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Dr Ali Bagheri Kani.

This is the first visit by a senior Iranian official since Ebrahim Raisi became the president.

Iran, which in the past opposed the Afghan Taliban, has now developed contacts with the group and is among the countries providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. As its deputy foreign minister held talks with authorities in Islamabad, another Iranian plane carrying essential supplies landed at Kabul airport.

Pakistan is also providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan as it believes that engaging with the Taliban government is crucial for the larger peace and stability in the region.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office said Qureshi shared Pakistan’s perspective on the latest situation in Afghanistan with the visiting Iranian deputy foreign minister.

The foreign minister underscored the need for close coordination for mutual advantage of the two countries and the region.

He said that Afghanistan required immediate provision of humanitarian assistance and that the international community should fully support the Afghan people at this critical juncture.

Read Pakistan, Iran agree on ‘continued economic engagement’ with Afghanistan

He stressed the importance of continued economic engagement with Afghanistan to avert economic collapse, which could lead to refugee influx and regional instability.

The two sides also discussed bilateral cooperation. Recalling fraternal relations between the two countries, the foreign minister remarked that the recent high-level exchanges have further reinforced existing ties.

He emphasised early implementation of the steps agreed during the prime minister’s meeting with President Raisi on the margins of the SCO Summit in Dushanbe.

Foreign Minister Qureshi underlined the need for regular convening of institutional frameworks to boost trade and economic relations. He said that the upcoming session of the Joint Trade Committee would provide further impetus to efforts for strengthening economic linkages.

Qureshi thanked Iran for its steadfast support on Jammu and Kashmir, especially at the Supreme Leader level. He underlined that Iran’s support is reassuring to the oppressed people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir in their just struggle for the right to self-determination.

The deputy foreign minister thanked Qureshi for receiving him. He reaffirmed Iran’s commitment to enhance bilateral cooperation and advance shared objectives in the region. He said that Foreign Minister Dr Amir Abdollahian looked forward to his visit to Pakistan.

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