0356 GMT January 27, 2020
“Announcement of a timetable for a responsible exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan would prepare the necessary ground for the Afghan government to promote peace and reconciliation process at the national level,” Zarif said, addressing the ministerial conference of the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process held in Turkey on Monday, according to IRNA.
The Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process was established to provide a platform to discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbors. This region-led dialogue was launched in November 2011 to expand practical coordination between Afghanistan and its neighbors and regional partners in facing common threats.
“In that regard, we support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process with the participation of all political groups and factions including the Taliban with the Afghan government in the center,” he added.
He said that Iran considers the 2018 parliamentary and 2019 presidential elections as crucial steps envisaged in the Constitution of Afghanistan.
The Iranian foreign minister underlined that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, stressing that the presence of foreign forces has never brought stability in our region and has historically provided a recruiting ground for extremists.
Stressing the role of neighboring countries and the UN in the establishment of peace in Afghanistan, Iran's top diplomat said, “Taking the views of neighboring countries and considering their legitimate concerns during the process would guarantee that the peace agreement has stronger supports regionally. We believe the United Nations could become active to bring all domestic groups as well as international partners of Afghan government under one umbrella to facilitate this process.”
“We should not forget the increasing threat of Daesh [terrorist group] in Afghanistan which has led to more bloodshed and introduced dangerous sectarian tendencies”, Zarif added.
“More dangerously, it has radicalized the local armed groups in a competition over followers and recruits. As no one gained from introducing and supporting Daesh and other extremists in Syria and Iraq, no one will gain from introducing them to Afghanistan and Central Asia. This horrific trend needs to be arrested before it reaches catastrophic proportions. We firmly believe that we need to form a united front and strongly stand against Daesh”, the Iranian foreign minister said.