Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan summit opposes outside intervention in regional affairs

Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan summit opposes outside intervention in regional affairs
# 19 February 2012 01:33 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Pakistani, Afghan and Iranian presidents at their trilateral summit in Islamabad on Friday came up with a categorical stance that regional issues should be resolved in the region and without any foreign intervention, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The three presidents in a joint communique reiterated their full support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive process of peace and reconciliation.

President Hamid Karzai, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Asif Ali Zardari, in fact conveyed the message to the U. S. officials, who have agreed on the opening of Taliban office in Qatar and are holding "exploratory" talks with Taliban in the Gulf state.

The U.S., Qatar and Taliban have kept the Afghan government away from the talks, which prompted anger in Kabul. President Karzai reiterated in Islamabad his government’s earlier stand that the U.S. can not hold talks with Taliban on behalf of Afghanistan and that Kabul wants the Taliban office to be opened either in Saudi Arabia or Turkey.

Pakistan, which has lost 35,000 civilians and security men since it has joined the U.S.-led coalition in 2001, also feels that it had been cornered by the U.S. contacts with the Afghan Taliban. The U.S. has always blamed Pakistan for helping the Afghan Taliban in their fight against the NATO forces but now the U.S. is in talks with them in recent months.

In order to show its resentment to the U.S. mysterious interaction with the Taliban, Islamabad refused to welcome the American special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan who wanted to talk to Pakistanis on the U.S. talks with the Taliban.

Iranian President joined his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts at a time when the U.S and its European allies slapped more sanctions on his country.

The three presidents gathered in the Pakistani capitals when anger at the U.S. runs high in the region.

A Pakistani columnist, Salim Safi, who routinely writes on Afghanistan, said that the trilateral summit in Islamabad was in fact a "protest sit-in" against the Unites States.

"Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan reiterated their full support for an Afghan- led and Afghan-owned inclusive process of peace and reconciliation. They assured the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that they would extend full cooperation and stressed that any initiative in this regard must have authentic Afghan ownership," said a joint statement issued at the end of the trilateral summit.

Observers believe that it was a clear message to the U.S. attempt to hold secret interaction with the Taliban and to ignore Afghan and Pakistani governments, regional and key Islamic countries as well as other Aghan groups in the dialogue process.

It is widely believed that the U.S. solo-flight has brought Afghan and Pakistani presidents to ease their tension and sit together at the trilateral summit after a four-month deadlock in relationship over the tragic assassination of Afghan peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani.

When the Afghan government suspended all high-level contacts with Pakistan after Rabbani’s murder and cancelled the planned visit to Kabul by the Pakistani Prime Minster Yusuf Raza Gilani in October, the Iranian president proposed the trilateral summit in November, but the Afghan president had refused to come to Islamabad in view of tense atmosphere in Kabul. Afghan officials had blamed Pakistani security agencies for helping the plot to kill Rabbani.

But the summit has now taken place with a commitment to strengthening cooperation for eradicating extremism, terrorism and militancy and to address the root causes of these menaces.

The three presidents also pledged to enhance cooperation among the countries comprehensively for realizing the shared aspiration of their peoples for peace, security, stability and economic prosperity.

Iranian president used the opportunity to make it clear that there is no problem among the three states and in a veiled reference to the U.S. he said that outsiders have imposed problems on the region.

Many in Pakistan endorse the notion of the Iranian president and consider the presence of the U.S. and forces of western allies as the root cause of instability and hostilities in the region. He rightly pointed out that regional problems should be resolved in the region and without foreign intervention.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had also been categorical to resist the U.S. pressure on the multi-billion Iran gas pipeline, which is key to resolve the fast growing energy crisis in the country.

The trilateral summit also vowed not to allow any threat emanating from their respective territories against each other and all parties agreed to commence trilateral consultations on an agreement in this regard. They agreed to prioritize cooperation for socio-economic development and to enhance three-way trade by facilitation measures, including preferential tariff and free trade arrangements as well as barter trade.
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