Pakistan, Iran seek urgent steps to avert Afghan crisis

Published October 27, 2021
TEHRAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian during the meeting.—Online
TEHRAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian during the meeting.—Online

TEHRAN: Foreign ministers of Pakistan and Iran on Tuesday called for an active response from the world to the situation in Afghanistan following the exit of foreign troops and urged the international community to avert the humanitarian crisis by providing immediate financial assistance to the war-torn country.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian expressed unanimity of views on extending humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan at a joint press conference.

Mr Qureshi urged the United Nations, the European Union and aid agencies to pace up their humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan.

He said the Afghans deserved peace as their generations had suffered conflicts for the past four decades. “We as a neighbour will continue to stand by Afghanistan in difficult times,” the foreign minister said.

In a joint call, foreign ministers demand active response from the world to provide humanitarian assistance to war-torn country

About his meeting with FM Amirabdollahian, Mr Qureshi said the discussions focused on bilateral relations and regional matters. Both sides expressed satisfaction over the recent collaboration in trade and defence, he said. He added that Pakistan would “keep moving ahead because we understand the importance of our relationship [with Iran]”.

The Iranian foreign minister told the presser that his country would continue its contacts with all parties in Afghanistan, explaining that Iran’s security consultations with the interim government of Afghanistan were under way.

IRNA, the official news agency of Iran, quoted Mr Amirabdollahian as saying: “We are closely monitoring the developments in Afghanistan and believe that formation of an inclusive government with the participation of all the ethnicities in Afghanistan is the most significant political solution before us.”

He also told the media that Iran would make use of the capacity of all its border crossings with Afgha­nistan to send and facilitate humanitarian supplies into the country.

He was of the opinion that accelerating the dispatch of humanitarian aids from other countries into Afghanistan during the cold snap would lower the peak of refugees flowing into the neighbouring countries.

Earlier, the two foreign ministers held extensive discussions on matters of mutual interest over a working luncheon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran, the Foreign Office said.

Referring to Pakistan’s initiative to evolve the regional approach to Afghanistan, FM Qureshi recalled his visits to Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Iran led to the first meeting of the neighbours of Afghanistan, which was held virtually on September 8.

Acknowledging the importance of close coordination between Pakistan and Iran, the foreign minister said joint efforts would achieve the shared objective of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

Sharing his perspective on Afghanistan after his last week visit to Kabul, the foreign minister underscored urgent need to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan to prevent an economic collapse.

On the occasion, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to Afghan brethren by facilitating trade and movement across borders.

In the bilateral context, the foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to enhance relations with Iran in all areas, adding that Islamabad considered Tehran a close and important neighbour.

Mr Qureshi also appreciated Iran’s steadfast support to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, especially at the highest level.

The Iranian foreign minister expressed the hope that joint efforts to help Afghanistan move towards peace and prosperity would be successful. He reiterated Iran’s full commitment to strengthening bilateral relations in all fields.

Special Representative for Afgha­nistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, Ambassador of Pakistan to Iran Rahim Hayat Qureshi and other senior officials accompanied the foreign minister.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2021

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