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Iran supports Pakistan-brokered Afghan peace talks, says FF Javad Zarif

ISLAMABAD, 13 AUG (DNA) – The visiting Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, on Thursday backed the Pakistan-brokered peace talks between the Afghan gov’t and the Taliban and said the process will ensure security in the region.“Iran is very much supportive of peace security cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan and in the region in general and inside Afghanistan,” the Iranian Foreign Minister when asked about his country’s stance on the peace process.

Pakistan hosted the first ever direct talks between the Taliban and Afghan gov’t in 14 years on July 7; however, the second round was postponed due to the death of the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar. The second round was scheduled to be held on August 31st in Pakistan.

The Afghan gov’t refused to continue the talks after a series of the recent Taliban attacks in Kabul and some other Afghan cities.

Pakistan’s top security adviser, Sartaj Aziz, told a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday that his country will make serious efforts to bring the peace process back on track.

Speaking along with Iranian Foreign Minister, the Pakistani adviser also said misunderstanding surfaced over a spike of the attacks in Afghanistan will be removed in talks with an Afghan delegation.

The Afghan delegation, led by Foreign Minister, Salahuddin Rabbani, arrived in Islamabad Thursday afternoon to discuss anti-terror cooperation and the revival of the peace process.

The Iranian Foreign Minister said on the occasions that Pakistan has been playing responsible role in the region and all the regional countries will have to work together to fight the common challenges of terrorism, extremism and sectarianism.

Responding to a question, the Iranian Foreign Minister said his country is supportive of peace and security cooperation amongst the regional countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Iranian Foreign Minister also expressed its gratitude to Pakistan for always supporting peaceful resolution of Iranian nuclear issue. He expressed the confidence that the brotherly relations will transform into meaningful economic relations.

When asked about issues on Pakistan-Iran border in Balochistan, the Iranian foreign minister said both the countries need to enhance contacts to curb incidents on the border.

To a question about the impact of China Pakistan economic corridor project on the region, Javad Zarif said Iran supports growth and development in Pakistan. “Development of both the countries is imperative to fight poverty and extremism in the region,” he said.

The Iranian Foreign Minister and Pakistani adviser earlier held formal talks and both “resolved to expand bilateral cooperation in diverse fields including economy, trade, energy and border management for peace and security in the region.”

The two sides agreed to effectively utilize the existing institutional mechanism for bilateral interactions, the two leaders said at their joint press conference.

Highlighting the significance of cooperation in the energy sector, the two sides also emphasized the need for making progress on the multi-billion Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project.

The Iranian Foreign Minister said there are massive opportunities of enhancing bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries particularly in the fields of oil, gas, banking and finance.

He said both the countries could go ahead more expeditiously on the gas pipeline projects and in this regard the relevant ministries are in touch. DNA

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