Obama's New Policy Towards Afghanistan and Pakistan - Awaited
Dawn, 27 Mar, 2009
WASHINGTON: A key US senator said on Thursday that the United States and Iran might begin their cooperation for stabilising Afghanistan after a meeting between officials of the two countries in The Hague next week.
‘We also need to reach out to Afghanistan’s other neighbours, including India, China, and Iran,’ Senator John Kerry told the confirmation hearing for the new US ambassador to Afghanistan.
The former Democratic presidential candidate, who now heads the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that in 2001 and 2002, Iran helped to stabilise Afghanistan. ‘And the Obama administration is right to explore how our interests might coincide again on this issue, beginning at the Hague Conference next week,’ he added.
Earlier on Thursday, Hasan Qashqavi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, told reporters in Tehran that Iran would join the United States at two international conferences on Afghanistan, including the one at The Hague which begins on March 31.
‘The level of participation is yet to be determined,’ he added. Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially invited Iran to the Hague conference.
The US move is seen in Tehran as a moral victory for the Iranian government, which was castigated by the Bush administration as part of an ‘Axis of Evil’.
Although the US still plays a leading role in the campaign against Iran’s nuclear programme, the US decision to involve it in its efforts to stabilise Afghanistan enhances the stature of the Iranian government.
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