Karzai Calls For U.S. – Iranian Cooperation in Rebuilding Afghanistan
Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai, given a red-carpet welcome on his first official visit to Iran, urged Sunday Tehran and Washington to work together for Afghanistan's reconstruction, despite their differences.
"We want countries such as Iran, which helped us a lot to resist the Taliban, terrorism and foreign aggression, and the United States, which contributed to the Taliban's defeat, to cooperate for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, even despite their differences," he said.
Karzai, speaking to reporters after talks with President Mohammed Khatami, paid tribute to Iran's "important role" in reshaping Afghanistan with the overthrow of its hardline Taliban rulers.
"We are certain of the goodwill and fraternity of Iran in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the sectors of national education and roads," said Karzai.
Following two hours of talks with Khatami, the
Afghan leader responded to a question on US allegations about Iran's interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and said, "We maintain that Iran is a friendly and brotherly country."
For his part, Khatami stressed that relations between the Iranian government and the Afghan interim administration should be crystal clear. The Iranian president said
that the Islamic Republic has recognized the Afghan interim
government from the outset and feels duty-bound to strengthen it. The two governments, he stressed, shall have clear and transparent cooperation.
According to IRNA, the president called the presence of Hamed Karzai in Tehran as a sign of respect of Iran for the Afghan interim government and their 'being alongside each other'. He pointed out, "In all possible aspects
and fields, we can reach an agreement with the Afghan government and stand ready to help our Afghan brothers and sisters in the reconstruction of their country.
The president pointed to the passing of the 'cold winter days', an end to ignorance, killings, conflicts and vice in Afghanistan and hoped that the suffering of these great people with an ancient civilization would come to an end.
Khatami also vowed that Tehran had "no intention of intervening in the internal affairs of Afghanistan," despite US charges that the Islamic republic was seeking to destabilise its eastern neighbour.
On Monday, Karzai is to meet Iran's spiritual guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and parliament speaker Mehdi Karubi. He will also address the Iranian parliament, according to the student news agency ISNA. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)