Iran warned Saturday that the international community cannot remain indifferent to the military actions of warring Afghan groups while the Afghan people are suffering from drought and famine.
"At a time when the Afghan people are suffering from drought and famine, and the people of this country are threatened with hunger and displacement, the world community can not remain indifferent to the military actions of warring Afghan factions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami last month rejected a "military solution" to the conflict, saying that "Iran supports peace efforts to put an end to the bloodbath in that country."
Asefi Saturday echoed Khatami's earlier statement and called on opposing Afghan factions to engage in conflict resolution talks.
"We ask that the parties put immediate end to all military actions and pave the way for a new round of negotiations," said Asefi.
Iran, which has been trying to reduce its Afghan refugee population, has called on the international community to mobilize against drought and the specter of famine in neighboring Afghanistan.
Iran's appeal followed a warning by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that the situation could trigger a mass exodus of Afghans to Iran and Pakistan.
The drought, the worst in 30 years and one of the worst in living memory, has also hit Iran and Pakistan.
The UNHCR says it has reports of groups of Afghans wandering from village to village in a desperate attempt to find drinking water -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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