Iran reaches out to Afghanistan, Tajikistan

Mar 23rd, 2009 | By editor | Category: In News, World

Atul Aneja
 
DUBAI: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has met his counterparts from Afghanistan and Tajikistan ahead of Tehran’s possible participation in international diplomacy aimed at stabilising Afghanistan.
Mr. Mottaki met Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta and Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister Hamrokhan Zarifi in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Iran’s Fars News Agency said that the top diplomats of the Persian speaking nations met on the occasion of Nowruz, the New Year festival widely celebrated in the three countries.
Acknowledging the importance of durable communication links, it was decided that Iranian railway would be extended into Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The rail link would be established from Sangan in Iran to Herat in Afghanistan. The track would then lead to Shirkhan and onward to Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe. The three also agreed to work together to develop a better telecommunication network and take up joint mining projects. A trilateral bank tailored to address difficulties posed by the international economic crisis would also be established.
Analysts point out that landlocked Afghanistan and Tajikistan are looking for a well developed transit network that would allow them to access Iranian ports, including Chabahar, for conducting international trade. Iran and India are also working together to develop a key road that would link Chabahar to Afghanistan.
Iran’s activism in Afghanistan coincides with the assertion by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing Washington’s keenness to involve Iran in international diplomacy on Afghanistan.

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