TEHRAN -- Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called on Thursday for cooperation between Iran and Pakistan, to promote “security and calm” in Afghanistan.
His remarks were made during a meeting with Pakistan’s top diplomat Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Tehran, who also met his Iranian counterpart Hussein Amir-Abdollahian.
“The U.S. presence in Afghanistan and the region does not provide security, and countries should help different groups in Afghanistan to form an inclusive and participatory government,” the Iranian presidency website quoted Raisi as saying.
He rejected what he described as a “guardianship” role which he said the U.S. used as a failed model to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan.
Instead, he called for neighboring countries to act as “facilitators” for the “establishment of an inclusive and participatory government with the presence of all Afghan groups.”
“The presence of the U.S. and foreigners in the region does not contribute to security, it creates problems instead, and countries in the region, especially Iran and Pakistan, can work together to provide the ground for ethnic and active groups in Afghanistan to establish security and peace in the country so that they can decide their own destiny,” Raisi said.
Iran and Pakistan are the top host countries of Afghan refugees in the world.
“Iran hosts about 4 million people of Afghanistan and has always been, and will continue to support the Afghan people,” Raisi added.
Tehran never recognized the Taliban during its first period ruling Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, and the two sides had tense ties.
But Iran has stressed in recent months that the Taliban must be “part of a future solution” in Afghanistan.
Qureshi called Tehran-Islamabad relations “historic” and “deep,” highlighting the two countries’ similar positions on many regional and international issues.
“Pakistan seeks to deepen and strengthen the relations between the two countries in various economic, political and regional fields, and we are determined to further upgrade the level of our ties,” he said.
Qureshi also conveyed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invitation for Raisi to visit Pakistan.
Qureshi underlined the importance of cooperation and coordination between Tehran and Islamabad to reach sustainable stability and peace in Afghanistan.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a major player in regional developments. Therefore, we believe that by working together we can have positive and useful cooperation in establishing and strengthening peace and stability in the region, especially in Afghanistan,” he added.
The top Pakistani diplomat tweeted that he had extensive discussions with Amir-Abdollahian on regional security and a coordinated approach for Afghanistan to work towards security, stability and an inclusive political settlement in the country.
Amir-Abdollahian welcomed a proposal by his Pakistani counterpart to host a regional summit later this year in Tehran of neighboring countries to discuss the ongoing developments in Afghanistan.
The two sides emphasized the expansion of bilateral relations in political and economic fields.
The Iranian and Pakistani foreign ministers also discussed positive steps taken in recent months in order to develop economic relations between the two countries, especially the establishment of two new border crossings, the holding of a joint economic commission and a forthcoming joint trade committee of the two countries.