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President wants Afghan-Iran border to be a trade hub

KABUL: Kabul has always tried to improve trade ties with Tehran, President Ashraf Ghani said on Friday, desiring greater bilateral cooperation in the wake of the Iran-US agreement.

During a meeting with Iran’s Interior Minister Abdul Raza Rahmani Fazli at the Presidential Palace here, Ghani stressed the need for enhanced cooperation between the neighbours in diverse fields.

The Afghan-Iran border should be a focal point of economic and security cooperation, the president remarked. “We want noticeable progress in bilateral collaboration, as both nations have common opportunities and challenges.”

In a statement from his office, the president said the Afghan government — mindful of the ground realities — had always advocated for a political settlement of issues.

“We want to increase the number of customs offices along the border with Iran to enhance people’s movements, curb the smuggling of drugs and other illegal substances and mount pressure on those involved in organised crime,” he added.

According to the statement, the president emphasised the listing of problems being faced by Afghan refugees in Iran and called for their gradual resolution.

For his part, Fazli said: “We have cordial and brotherly relations with Afghanistan. And our country remains committed to cooperation with Afghanistan in future.” Any threat to Afghanistan, in fact, represented a threat to Iran as well, Fazli added.

Poverty and unawareness should be addressed to improve the economic and security situation since ant-state elements manipulated such weaknesses, the visiting minister suggested.

“The security of Afghanistan is vital to Iran, whose leadership realises this imperative and is ready to support the Afghan-led peace drive,” he continued.

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi and National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar were also present at the meeting. (PAN)

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