Iran, India, Afghanistan hold first tripartite meeting in Kabul

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Tehran (ISNA) - India, Iran and Afghanistan held their first tripartite meeting in Kabul during which implementation of the Chabahar port project and a host of other issues including ways to deepen counter-terror cooperation were discussed, officials said.

The Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale while the Iranian team was headed by deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. Afghan deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai chaired the meeting.

“The meeting focused on consolidating economic cooperation, including Chabahar, as well as enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and continuing support to the peace and reconciliation process that is led and owned by Afghanistan,” the three countries said in a joint-statement.

It said the three sides agreed to hold the next round of consultation at an appropriate time in India next year.

Sources said the possible impact of the US sanctions on the Chabahar port project also figured in the meeting, PTI reported.

The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on Iran’s southern coast is being developed by India and Iran are also coming under the US sanctions on Iran.

In the meeting three officials also discussed facilitating the process of exploiting Chabahar's capacity, removing possible barriers to trade and banking interactions between the three countries in the field of economic cooperation, pursuing tripartite agreements, and engaging and cooperating to provide comprehensive security.

Iran's deputy Foreign Minister noted at the meeting Iran's full support for the Afghan government in its fight against the terrorists, saying that whatever measures the Afghan government and nation wants to fight for and achieve peace, Iran will accompany it.

Aragchi called Iran, India, and Afghanistan's cooperation in Chabahar as a symbol of cooperation and a pattern of regional interest in multilateral cooperation, adding that this cooperation should be further developed.

He reiterated that Iran is fully prepared to help achieve peace and expand economic cooperation to boost Afghanistan's economic prosperity, according to IRNA.

Indian deputy Foreign Minister Gukhal also highlighted the government's commitment to working with the Afghan government to improve the economy, security and infrastructure of the country.

Some unofficial sources also announced another reason for Gukhall's visit to Kabul to request India from the National Unity Government to focus on fighting the Taliban and striving to receive news of the seven Indian abducted citizens by Taliban.

Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Karzai also spoke at the tripartite summit, broadening his country's efforts to reach an agreement to bring about peace and expand ties with Iran and India to serve the interests of its people.

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