Pakistan urges Iran to help stabilise Afghanistan
Pakistan on Monday urged neighbouring Iran to help the United States and other world powers in stabilising violence-wracked Afghanistan, AFP reported.
"I will speak to the Iranian foreign minister on this subject," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told AFP ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).
Qureshi described Iran as an "important regional player" and said it would be "useful" if it took part in an international meeting on Afghanistan due to be held on March 31.
"I would urge and request my Iranian friends to consider participating," he said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that Iran would be invited to the Afghanistan meeting, in the latest overture by the administration of US President Barack Obama towards its arch-foe.
Iran, which has close ethnic and religious ties with Afghanistan and opposes the Sunni Muslim extremist Taliban group, said it is considering attending.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said at the ECO meeting that the "policy of occupation and interference by powers from outside the region has borne no results" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The presidents of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan are due to meet on Tuesday ahead of an ECO summit focusing on the global financial crisis, the Fars news agency reported.
ECO was founded in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey to address regional economic issues. Its members also include Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other regional countries.