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Afghanistan, Iran to sign strategic agreement soon

19 July, 2012

KABUL: Afghanistan and Iran are in the process of drafting a strategic agreement to boost cooperation between the two countries, Iranian Foreign Secretary Ali Akbar Salehi told Afghan TV channel.

The agreement will focus on different aspects of their relationship, particularly on the training of Afghan national security forces, Salehi said, marking the first time an Iranian high-ranking official has stated the country's interest in training Afghan soldiers.

He confirmed that there were people already working on a draft of a long-term agreement.

"We hope to sign a strategic agreement soon, which was proposed by President [Hamid] Karzai, in order to boost cooperation between the two countries. The two countries' experts are working to write a draft of the agreement which will be signed in the near future," he said.

Salehi pointed out that Iran has a demonstrable interest in Afghanistan's future.

"We have attended many conferences in the past several months including Istanbul, Bonne, Kabul, and now the Tokyo conference which shows the strong commitment of Iran to our Afghan brothers and sisters," Salehi said in the interview.

He added that the Iranian government is already making steps in this regard, trying to connect Afghanistan to international waters through Iran's Chabahar port.

"One of the projects we've announced was to connect Afghanistan to Chabahar port in order to connect the country with waters which will ease the transit issues," Salehi added.

He said that Iran wants Afghanistan to stand on its own feet after withdrawal of the foreign troops from the country. Iran will be the second regional country to sign a strategic agreement with Afghanistan after India.

Afghanistan has signed similar agreements with countries such as Italy, Britain, Australia, and the US, in recent months to secure their cooperation during the "transformation decade" of 2015 to 2024 and possibly beyond.

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