10 december AFP

New Afghan leader asks for Iran's support in reconstruction


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Afghanistan's new interim leader Hamid Karzai said Monday he counts on Iran's help to rebuild his country, the official Iranian news agency reported. "We consider Iran as our prominent supporter, and give special importance to our relations with Iran", IRNA quoted Hamid Karzai as telling Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi in a telephone conversation Monday.

The interim Afghan leader also invited Kharazi to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new government in Afghanistan on December 22. Kharazi, who is in Doha for an Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting on the Middle East conflict, expressed hope that "the provisional government passes this difficult transition period as soon as possible and a permanent government is established in Afghanistan".

Attention must be paid to "avoiding any other clashes and to establishing peace and stablity in Afghanistan", Kharazi warned, adding that Iran would assist in reconstructing Afghanistan. "Iran supports Afghanistan, and given the common religious and cultural background of the two nations it would like exemplary relations between them", Kharazi said.

Karzai paid tribute Saturday to Iran's role in ousting the Taliban militia and called on Iran officials to "contribute the return of peace" in Afghanistan. The Iranian government said on Wednesday it had no objection to Karzai, a member of the country's majority Pashtun ethnic group, heading the interim government. The Northern Alliance, Iran's main ally, consists largely of Afghanistan's minority Hazara, Uzbek and Tajik populations.

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