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Kabul hosts first tripartite talks on Chabahar

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Afghanistan, India and Iran on Tuesday reviewed progress on completing the Chabahar port project and agreed to consolidate economic cooperation during their first trilateral meeting in Kabul.

The meeting was chaired by Afghan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hekmat Khalil Karzai and the Indian and Iranian delegations were led by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi respectively.

The meeting focused on consolidating economic cooperation, including Chabahar, as well as enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and continuing support to the peace and reconciliation process that is led and owned by Afghanistan.

The three sides agreed to hold the next round of consultation next year. The meeting came days after Iran announced that it would hand over the maintenance and operation of the Chabahar Port to India soon.

India has been under intense pressure from the United States to reduce its trade and commercial links with Iran in view of American sanctions against the Islamic nation.

New Delhi has, however, asked the US to keep the Chabahar Port out of the sanctions regime since the project was primarily aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to the war-affected people of Afghanistan.

A statement from the Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Hekmat Karzai expressed delight to host the first tripartite meeting at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

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