Iran, Afghanistan agree to strengthen regional co-op, border security
The statement followed a two-day visit by a top Afghan delegation to Tehran. The meeting at this juncture was highly important as certain foreign countries hostile to the Islamic Republic tried to use a tragic border incident involving illegal Afghan immigrants to undermine Tehran-Kabul ties.
“The two sides held detailed discussions about the recent incidents that have caused human fatalities, and the Iranian side informed the Afghan side of progress in investigations, and both sides agreed to adopt measures to prevent the occurrence of such incidents,” read part of the statement.
In the meetings, the two sides discussed the expansion of relations between the two countries in various fields within the framework of eight working committees, including the committees on the comprehensive document, legalization of residence of nationals, border cooperation, labor, water, cultural cooperation, energy, and health.
The two sides reached the following conclusions:
- In order to institutionalize and organize the bilateral relations, the two sides agreed on the necessity of proceeding with the negotiations to finalize the comprehensive document on strategic cooperation between the two countries and preparing the document for signature by the Presidents within three months.
- The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomed the process of peace under the ownership and guidance of the Afghan government and people, and expressed readiness to employ its capacity and capabilities to facilitate the process of intra-Afghan negotiations and to host the negotiations at the request of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
- The two sides emphasized the need to reduce violence in Afghanistan with the purpose of building trust and creating a positive atmosphere in order to launch the intra-Afghan negotiations as soon as possible, achieve a lasting ceasefire, and establish sustainable peace.
- Considering the significance of regional and international consensus on the establishment of peace and security in Afghanistan, the two sides stressed the need to strengthen the regional and international cooperation and consultations and activate the capacities available in the region with the purpose of facilitating the negotiations and supporting the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s establishment. As a result, they agreed about the necessity for the formation of a regional initiative pivoting on Afghanistan and participation of the neighboring countries and partnership of the other influential countries and the role of the United Nations in supporting the intra-Afghan peace process.
- The two sides touched on the good cooperation and coordination between the two countries in the international circles, the issues of mutual interest, and the common concerns, including human rights and protecting the rights of nationals, and stressed the need to proceed with the cooperation in future.
- The two sides stressed the necessity of strengthening cooperation in the media sectors in order to provide information and increase the level of mutual understanding between public opinion in the two countries. In this regard, media cooperation between the two countries will grow in the future.
- Considering the abundant commonalities between the two countries in the historical-civilizational sphere, it was decided that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Information and Culture, and also the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Education and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education should take the necessary measures to carry out joint programs in the area of the common heritage of language, religion and culture, as well as educational cooperation, and to devise and exchange the documents on these programs and cooperation.
- The two sides held detailed discussions about the recent incidents that have caused human fatalities, and the Iranian side informed the Afghan side of progress in investigations, and both sides agreed to adopt measures to prevent the occurrence of such incidents.
- The security-frontier committee and the committee on legalization of residence of nationals of the two countries on each other’s soil were assigned to adopt the necessary measures to ensure the security of the common frontier in order to prevent illegal travels, human trafficking, and smuggling. In this regard, the two sides highlighted the need for the Afghan security forces to be present in the border outposts emptied in Afghanistan, and for the Islamic Republic of Iran to facilitate issuing visas.
- In order to facilitate the travels of nationals, means of transport, and commodities between the two countries, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health signed a memorandum of understanding during Mr. Atmar’s visit for mutual cooperation in observing the international health regulations at the border crossings (road, rail, air, and sea routes).
- The two sides declared that, within the framework of the comprehensive document on strategic cooperation, they would sign a bilateral agreement to organize the legal presence of Afghan labor force in the Islamic Republic of Iran and issue the necessary permits for the presence of economic activists and expert forces of the two countries in Iran and Afghanistan.
- The two sides stressed the need for the border guards of the two countries to monitor and control the common borders strictly and effectively and undertook to prevent illegal border-crossing, human trafficking, and smuggling of drugs and any other items into the territory of each other.
- The two sides agreed on regional and multilateral economic-business cooperation, including in the sphere of transit and transportation, and highlighted the role of Chabahar Port as the driving engine of trade-transit cooperation in the region.
- The two sides also stressed the necessity of providing welfare facilities at the border ports/terminals, and, specifically, agreed to take joint action as soon as possible to repair the infrastructure and the asphalt road for motor vehicles at the Dogharoun border crossing.
- The two sides agreed to proceed with cooperation in the energy sector, particularly the renewable energies.